The Giants.com crew is presented with four statements and must decide whether they are Fact or Fiction.
Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari will combine for at least 2.0 sacks on Sunday.
John Schmeelk: Fact – I'm going to cheat pull from my Bears scouting report from earlier in the week:
Fields has been sacked 10 times, despite only dropping back to pass 67 times. The Bears have allowed sacks on 22% of their pass attempts, which leads the league by a wide margin. They have an 8% higher rate than the 31st ranked team. This is not completely the fault of the offensive line. According to Pro Football Focus, Justin Fields has the league's longest average time to throw (3.32 seconds). The Bears' 52% pressure rate allowed is the highest in the league, according to PFF.
Throw in the fact that the Bears offensive line is young and inexperienced with 2022 fifth-round pick Braxton Jones at left tackle and 2021 fifth-round pick Larry Borom at right tackle, the Giants' edge rushers should have the opportunity to get to the quarterback.
Dan Salomone: Fact – While both were on a pitch count in their season debuts, Ojulari drew two holding penalties, so that was a signal to defensive coordinator Wink Martindale that "he's doing things right." Meanwhile, Thibodeaux talked this week about getting up to speed and understanding how offenses scheme against him and the entire defense. Both could make some noise against Justin Fields, who has been sacked 46 times in 15 career games, including five last week.
Lance Medow: Fiction – The Bears have attempted only 45 passes through three games. That's an average of just 15 per contest. They lean heavily on the ground attack and have the second-most runs (104) in the NFL behind the Browns (114). That means there's not many chances to sack the quarterback. On top of that, the Giants have only three sacks in three games including none against the Cowboys. The quarterback needs to drop back many times in terms of volume to have legitimate shots to bring him down. This matchup doesn't present those opportunities.
Matt Citak: Fiction – As Wink Martindale told the media on Thursday, the Giants' talented pass rushing duo has "nowhere to go but up." However, two sacks may be asking too much in only their second game back. Ojulari forced two holding penalties on the Cowboys, while Thibodeaux did register a pressure in his NFL debut. It wouldn't be surprising to see one sack in Week 4 between the two outside linebackers. It's also fair to expect Martindale to get creative with his blitzes after the team failed to garner a sack on Monday. The defense will have at least 2.0 sacks Sunday, but they could come from some unlikely sources.
The Giants and Bears will both run more than they pass in Week 4.
John Schmeelk: Fact – I don't think either team gets behind far enough where they have to pass the football, so both will stick with the running game. Justin Fields has only 45 pass attempts this season, and the Bears lead the league with a 65.4% rush rate. They want to run it, then run it again, and then run it some more. The Giants would also like the game to be in the hands of their most explosive player, Saquon Barkley. This should be a short affair as both teams want to pound the rock like it's the era the Giants' legacy jerseys come from.
Dan Salomone: Fiction – While the Bears run the ball a league-high 65.4 percent of the time and the Giants are seventh at 46.2, it's still 2022 in the NFL. "Either" but not "both" is the likelier outcome.
Lance Medow: Fact – As I mentioned in my response to the first statement, the Bears' identity on offense is the run game. Not only do they look to pound the ball but they're having success doing that by averaging 187 yards per game, second best mark in the NFL. The Giants aren't too far behind as they rank fourth with 169 rushing yards per contest. They're also seventh in the NFL in total run plays with 90. The stats for both teams are overwhelming in favor of the ground attack in comparison to the pass.
Matt Citak: Fact – On the Bears' side of things, this one is pretty obvious. Chicago enters this matchup having attempted just 45 total passes through three games, one of the lowest passing attempts we've seen at this point of the season in 40 years. It is the Giants' side that is a little trickier to predict. In the season opener, the Giants registered more rushing attempts than passing attempts. In Week 2, the two numbers differed by only one, while they passed more than they ran against the Cowboys. The Bears defense has struggled mightily against the run this season, ranking 30th in rushing yards allowed, and Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka will certainly look to exploit that.
Once again, the New York Giants are bringing back their classic blue uniforms from the '80s and '90s this Sunday as part of two Legacy Games presented by Quest.
Whichever team's quarterback has more rushing yards will win the game.
John Schmeelk: Fiction – The cumulative rushing yards isn't what will determine the winner or loser, but instead the situations the quarterbacks get those yards. Does one manage an explosive run that sets up or scores a touchdown? How many crucial third downs are converted by a quarterback scramble? Its situational running that could make the difference.
Dan Salomone: Fact – This will be the X-factor for Sunday. It's trending to be a run-heavy game, and both quarterbacks have the ability to deliver blows with their legs.
Lance Medow: Fiction – While I do think the quarterbacks' mobility will have a notable impact on the game, to say their rushing totals alone will decide the contest is taking things a bit far. Hypothetically speaking, what if Daniel Jones is the Giants' leading rusher but the Bears contain Saquon Barkley and company? Or what if Justin Fields tops the charts for Chicago but Khalil Herbert is quiet? The entire rushing group will dictate the outcome of the game, not just the signal callers.
Matt Citak: Fiction – Both quarterbacks are more than capable of putting up strong numbers in the run game. Jones currently ranks third among QBs with 125 rushing yards, while Fields is not far behind with his 95 (fifth among QBs). But the winner of this game will not come down to which of the two young quarterbacks gain more yards on the ground. However, it's realistic to think that the winner could be determined by which team finishes with more rushing yards overall, as the Giants and Bears are two of the most successful rushing offenses in the league.
Saquon Barkley has been the most impressive part of the Giants' 2-1 start.
John Schmeelk: Fiction – This does not take anything away from Saquon Barkley. He is moving as well as I have ever seen him move, and he is clearly the most dynamic player on the Giants' offense. But Andrew Thomas is the answer for me. He has taken another step forward from being just a good tackle, to playing like one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL. He is healthier than he has been as a Giant, and that might be a reason for the continued improvement in his performance. Thomas is someone you can leave out there on an island, which allows the team to help elsewhere on the line. I look forward to the Andrew Thomas-Robert Quinn matchup this week.
Dan Salomone: Fiction – Saquon Barkley has been sensational, but the most impressive part of the 2-1 start is more basic. It's simply the fact that they are 2-1 at all. The Giants were 3-14 in the month of September over the previous five seasons and dug themselves into holes that proved to be too deep. In the first season of the new era, while there have been sluggish starts in the individual games, the Giants found ways to win and set themselves up for the rest of the year.
Lance Medow: Fact – Through three games thus far, Saquon Barkley has shown flashes of his rookie season with 194 scrimmage yards in the opener in Tennessee, a hard-fought 72 rushing yard performance against the Panthers and then a 36-yard rushing score against the Cowboys in which he made several defenders miss. Barkley seems extremely comfortable in the new scheme and his decisive running has proven to be a noticeable difference maker. He's also responsible for two of the team's five touchdowns.
Matt Citak: Fiction – Saquon Barkley has gotten his 2022 campaign off to a strong start, as the talented running back ranks second in the NFL in rushing yards and leads in total yards from scrimmage. However, the most impressive part of the team's 2-1 start has to be the play of Andrew Thomas. The third-year tackle has yet to surrender a sack through three games and has earned the highest overall PFF grade of any offensive lineman in the league with his 90.1. The next highest is more than five points away (Texans T Laremy Tunsil, 84.8). Serving as a captain for the first time in his young career, Thomas has also stepped up as a leader in the locker room.
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