ESNY previews the upcoming Week 17 matchup between the Giants and Bears.
The Giants are experiencing a horrendous 2021 season; so are the Bears.
This is not the game of the week by any means. I’m sure Scott Hanson won’t be showing too many plays from this matchup on NFL Red Zone, especially considering neither offense is all that talented.
However, the game is actually important for Big Blue’s positioning in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft. The Giants are in possession of both their own first-round pick as well as the Bears’ opening-round selection, thanks to the 2021 draft-day trade in which the Bears moved up from No. 20 to 11 overall (the Giants’ original 2021 first-round pick) to acquire quarterback Justin Fields.
Regardless of the outcome of this matchup, the positioning of either of the Giants’ first-round picks could improve. Right now, New York’s own selection is No. 5 overall while their selection via Chicago is No. 8.
New York Giants (4-11) @ Chicago Bears (5-10)
Sunday, Jan. 2, 2021 — 1:00 PM EDT
Giants’ Final Injury Report
- DL Austin Johnson (Foot)
- CB Adoree’ Jackson (Quad/COVID-19 ramp-up)
- OT Nate Solder (COVID-19 ramp-up)
- TE Chris Myarick (Hip)
- C Billy Price (Personal)
- WR Collin Johnson (Hamstring)
- WR Kadarius Toney (Shoulder)
- WR John Ross (Knee/COVID-19 ramp-up)
Bears’ Final Injury Report
- QB Justin Fields (Ankle)
- DB Duke Shelley (Heel)
- OL Jason Peters (Ankle)
- DL Eddie Goldman (Finger)
- DL Akiem Hicks (COVID-19 ramp-up)
- TE J.P. Holtz (Personal)
Giants: +6.5 // O36.0 // +220
Bears: -6.5 // U36.0 // -275
Notable Game Props
(Courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)
- Giants Total Points: Over-14.5 (-110), Under-14.5 (-120)
- Bears Total Points: Over-20.5 (-120), Under-20.5 (-110)
- First Team to Score: Giants (+135), Bears (-165)
- Last Team to Score: Giants (+125), Bears (-155)
Player Prop Picks (Courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)
Saquon Barkley Under-51.5 Rushing Yards (-115)
Saquon Barkley isn’t 100%. He hasn’t undergone a productive season by any means. The Giants offensive line has also been below-average and is dealing with numerous setbacks ahead of this game.
Why would I tell you to take Barkley’s rushing-yard over?
This is an incredibly safe bet.
Graham Gano Over-5.5 Kicking Points (-125)
We have a kicker prop!
Graham Gano has been great despite the Giants’ lousy season. He’s averaging over six kicking points per game on the year and should hit this over if the Giants protect the football and reach Gano’s range twice.
I understand Big Blue’s offense is one of the league’s worst, but the bottom line is that not much needs to occur for Gano to surpass 5.5 kicking points against Chicago.
David Montgomery Over-70.5 Rushing Yards (-110)
The Bears will be leading late in this game.
I understand Chicago hasn’t had a good season but I trust Andy Dalton more than Mike Glennon/Jake Fromm and I trust Matt Nagy more than Joe Judge. The Giants are also dealing with various setbacks (injuries, COVID-related issues, and a personal matter) involving their offensive line and receiving corps.
Again, the Bears will be ahead on the scoreboard in the second half, which will prompt Chicago to utilize the ground game with David Montgomery.
The third-year back has only exceeded this total three times in the 2021 season but you also need to consider the Giants are 26th in the NFL with 125.3 rushing yards allowed per game.
Players to Watch
Mike Glennon/Jake Fromm
This is a quarterback-driven league — one of the main reasons the Giants haven’t found much success this season is due to the lack of truly good quarterback play.
That needs to change Sunday against a beatable Chicago team.
There’s a decent chance both Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm could see time in this game, just like in each of the team’s last two matchups. Will whoever is under center fare well against a strong Bears secondary that’s fourth in the league with 202.4 average passing yards allowed?
A primary practice squad receiver in the infamous “Players to Watch” section?
Yes, because that’s what happens when there are injuries and COVID issues involving various other wideouts.
Kadarius Toney (shoulder), Darius Slayton (COVID-19), Collin Johnson (hamstring), and John Ross (knee/COVID-19 ramp-up) will not be participating in this matchup while Sterling Shepard is done for the year with an Achilles tear.
That means David Sills will be one of the top receivers alongside Kenny Golladay.
Sills was a training camp/preseason fan favorite in the summer but has yet to participate in a regular-season game at the professional level.
Could he impress in his debut?
Giants Offensive Line
This Giants offensive line, for seemingly the 100th consecutive year, is not experiencing a great season. Second-year left tackle Andrew Thomas has been awesome but the entire unit needs to gel — that hasn’t been occurring.
This week, the line will be dealing with a number of setbacks. Starting center Billy Price is doubtful due to a personal matter while swing tackle Matthew Peart is out for the year with a torn ACL.
Starting right tackle Nate Solder is also questionable due to his COVID-19 ramp-up period.
In spite of the numerous issues and past poor performances, will the group step up in this late-season battle at Soldier Field?
Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY