If the New York Giants defense can’t shut down the 30th ranked Chicago bears offense on Sunday, James Bettcher should be in trouble.
The (2-8) New York Giants travel to Chicago to take on the (4-6) Chicago Bears this Sunday at Soldier Field. This will be the 52nd meeting between these two storied NFL franchises with the Bears holding a 28-21-2 series lead.
The game could come down to the Giants 27th-ranked defense matched up against the Bears 30th ranked offense.
Something has to give between these two units. The 289 points the Giants have surrendered are the third most in the NFC and the 169 points the Bears have scored are the second-fewest in the same conference.
If there were ever a game where defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s unit should have a dominant performance, it’s this Sunday in Chicago. And by the same token, it sets up a pressurized situation for the Giants defensive coordinator.
The man needs a big performance from his defense.
The Bears offense is in complete disarray. They are averaging 14.25 points over their last four games and there are questions on whether it will be Mitchell Trubisky or Chase Daniel at quarterback. Daniel was the quarterback when these two teams met last season, a Giants’ 30-27 victory in Week 13.
Based on how the Bears offense has looked, it would be an indictment on Bettcher and his players.
There are many reasons why the Giants sit at 2-8 but the bulk of the issues with the team are on the defensive side of the ball. Despite the fact the defense has several players that played for Bettcher when he was the Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator (Markus Golden, Antoine Bethea and Deone Bucannon), the defense has looked out of sync and overmatched all season.
In the 10 games they’ve played this season, the Giants have allowed five different quarterbacks to throw for over 300 yards and have allowed teams to have over 400 yards in total offense five times. The secondary, in particular, has looked lost as often receivers have roamed free in the secondary.
With the exception of the pass rush, which has 24 sacks on the season, the defense has regressed in year two under Bettcher.
It was expected that there might be communication issues early in the season. After all, the defense had three new starters in the secondary. But after 10 games, both veteran players and rookies are still having the same issues that plagued them in Week 1 when they relented 494 total yards and allowed Dak Prescott to throw for 405.
The only game this season the Giants defense had a solid performance was in Week 4 when they defeated the Washington Redskins, 24-3. That, ironically, was the last game the Giants won.
This is why Bettcher sits firmly on the hot seat heading into Chicago. When a team or a particular unit is struggling and adjustments aren’t witnessed, the onus comes down to coaching.
Fortunately for Bettcher, facing the putrid Bears offense gives his unit a chance of enjoying a bounce-back performance, especially coming after a bye. Bears quarterbacks have yet to throw for over 253 yards in any game this season and the offense has only scored 30 points or more once this season.
However, if the Bears have an offensive outburst on Sunday, the changes will have to happen whether deemed major or subtle.
Sunday’s game against the Bears could be Bettcher’s last stand with Big Blue if the defense struggles again.