The New York Giants will look to fix the issues that plagued them against the Steelers in their Week 2 matchup in Chicago.
The New York Giants travel to Chicago on a short week and will look to get Joe Judge’s first head-coaching win when they take on the Bears on Sunday.
These two teams met in Week 12 last year, a matchup in which the Bears came away with a 19-14 victory.
Much has changed since then for the Giants from a personnel standpoint as well as with the coaching staff. Now, they’ll look for a better outcome than last season and pick up their first win of the new campaign.
Here are the keys to victory for the Giants.
1. Daniel Jones must eliminate the turnovers
Daniel Jones‘ turnover woes from a season ago were on display again on Monday as he threw two picks against Pittsburgh. His interception in the end zone with the Giants trailing 16-10 was a turning point in the loss.
Jones has to show that he can play mistake-free football. If a play isn’t there, he needs to throw the ball away to the sidelines. The Giants just aren’t talented enough to overcome his turnovers.
2. The offensive line can’t get manhandled
No one could fathom how putrid the offensive line was from a run-blocking standpoint against the Steelers, as Saquon Barkley was held to six yards on 15 carries. On 11 of those carries, a defender hit Barkley behind the line of scrimmage.
This week, they’ll face another strong defensive front seven led by Khalil Mack, although the talented edge rusher is dealing with a knee injury.
After hearing how bad they were on Monday for the last few days, the line as well as tight end Evan Engram should come out motivated to redeem themselves. If the Giants can get the better of the Bears front seven and open holes for Barkley, they’ll emerge victoriously.
3. Be bold
There were two incidents in the first quarter of the Steelers game where Judge decided to kick the ball rather than go for it on 4th-and-short. First, he decided to punt the ball at the Steelers 40-yard line on a 4th-and-1, and then he elected to kick a field goal on a 4th-and-goal at the Steelers 2-yard line.
Judge needs to be bold and trust that his offense can pick up the first downs. Have Jones roll out where he can either run or pass for a first down or take your chances and run the ball with Barkley. The Bears aren’t as talented as the Steelers and the Giants need to be bold, daring, and take their chances on 4th-and-short on Sunday.
4. Stop the Bears ground game
Last week, the Giants defense wore down in the second half largely because it couldn’t stop the run. The unit gave up 141 yards on 30 carries as the Steelers took control later on in the game.
The Bears will try to establish their run game on Sunday just as they did last Sunday when they ran for 149 yards on 28 carries. It’ll be up to Blake Martinez, Dalvin Tomlinson, and the rest of the Giants front seven to shut down the Bears running game. If the Giants can stop the run and force quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to beat them, this will bode well for Big Blue.
5. Get the ball to Big Play Slay
There’s no question that Darius Slayton is one of the best young wide receivers in the league. Last week, he caught six of his nine targets for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Since Week 5 of last season, Slayton leads the NFL in touchdown receptions with 10.
It's been 260 days, but football is BACK! 😍
— New York Giants (@Giants) September 14, 2020
The Bears defense surrendered 297 passing yards to the Lions in Week 1. Slayton needs to, once again, have at least nine targets, as he and Jones possess a connection that defenses are having a difficult time defending.
Despite the short week, the Giants will be well prepared for Sunday’s matchup. This will be a tough and physical game, but in the end, the Giants will make more plays and get Judge his first win as a head coach. Giants 23, Bears 20.