Joe Judge says the good teams – and he's been a part of a few – make a big jump from Week 1 to 2. The New York Giants will try to do that Sunday as they look for their first win against the Chicago Bears, who rallied from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Detroit Lions in their season opener.
"You talk about the Bears, you have to talk about the history of the league," Judge said. "Starting with George Halas and going to the McCaskey family, these are really some of the good people in the world of football. All of us are very beneficial to what they did through their family business to allow the NFL to develop, along with Wellington Mara, really getting this league jump-started. As players and coaches, we took time [Wednesday morning] to really review what they've done for the league and for each one of us individually when we have this opportunity. That being said, the current Bears, this is an explosive team."
View rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and Chicago Bears.
Here are three keys to victory for the Giants in Chicago:
Match their speed.
Coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace have stocked the Bears' roster with a lot of explosive players on offense. They have multiple weapons and use them in "very inventive ways," according to Judge. They will mix their personnel groups, along with tempo and quick substitutions.
"We need to make sure we're very attentive and in-tune to the game to match the speed that they're going to present," Judge said. "They present opponents with a lot of issues with their fast motions going across the formations, changing the strength, and then also looking to find ways to get favorable matchups for their skill guys."
Defend the rub routes.
You may have heard a lot about rub routes coming off Monday night's game, and it will continue into Sunday. The Bears, like the Steelers, will use them to create contact on the defenders to free up their playmakers. During his Thursday press conference, assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Patrick Graham took responsibility for the issues against Pittsburgh, saying he needs to coach it better. It is no doubt a focus this week.
"This team is going to be a team that has a lot of rub routes, a lot of misdirection trying to get you crossed over between linebackers, corners and safeties and who's covering who," Judge said. "We have to do a good job communicating pre-snap and then adjust post snap."
Avoid the critical mistake.
Daniel Jones has thrown at least one touchdown pass in each of his first 13 career starts, the fourth-longest streak among quarterbacks who started their careers since the 1970 merger. With that, however, came two interceptions that led to nine points on Monday night. The second one spoiled a 19-play drive that consumed 8:50. Jones said he was just trying to throw the ball away, but waited too long as the Steelers' pressure mounted.
"I think as an offense, I thought we did some good things and some not so good things, and I certainly feel like I played good at times and bad at times," said the even-keeled Jones, who took the torch from Eli Manning one year ago this week. "I think we've got to do a better job of being consistent, avoiding the bad plays, avoiding the big mistakes, and I'll certainly work to correct those things. We've got to be more consistent and execute at a higher level."