Three keys and prediction: Bears vs. Giants


1. Don’t turn the ball over.
Chase Daniel was particularly adept at not only taking care of the football against the Detroit Lions, but also not only not really throwing any dangerous passes. The only turnover was a Trey Burton lost fumble; the Bears can probably afford one mistake against the Giants, but not two. The Giants took the ball away at least twice in all three of their wins, and hit that mark in a two-point loss to the Carolina Panthers, too. The Giants average 30.8 points per game when they force two or more turnovers; when they don’t, they average 16 points per game. 

2. Go to mass…and trust your defense.
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio quipped the best way to stop wide receiver Odell Beckham was by “going to mass on Saturday night.” As for running back Saquon Barkley: “It's gonna take all 11 people to stop him,” Fangio said. Interestingly, though, Beckham and Barkley have gone over 100 yards in their respective categories in the same game once this year — Week 1, a 20-15 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. For an offense with two of the league’s best weapons, and a good left tackle, this isn’t a particularly impressive group on the whole. Eli Manning struggles under pressure (38 sacks in 153 drop backs, with four touchdowns and four interceptions), so trusting the defense to get after him and force some poor decisions is probably the best tactic for Fangio on Sunday. 

3. Be yourself.
The Bears’ worst game of 2018 came after an off week, when they went to Miami and played uncharacteristically poorly against the Dolphins in that 31-28 overtime loss. As coach Matt Nagy put it: “we weren't ourselves” in that game. The Bears will play the Giants coming off a “mini” off week, with nine full days between games. Luckily, it won’t be 95 with extreme humidity on an early December afternoon in New Jersey, but the Bears are better than the Giants, and as long as they don’t do anything out of character, they should emerge from Sunday with their ninth win of the year. 

Prediction: Bears 25, Giants 17.
Each of the Giants’ last five games have been decided by seven points or fewer, and only two of their games this year — home losses to New Orleans (by 15) and Philadelphia (by 21) have been decided by more than one score. New York, on the surface, resembles the 2017 Bears, then: A team that can keep games close, but probably doesn’t have enough to turn those close games into wins unless the opposition is bad (like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers). The Bears have an immense trust in Daniel to get the job done, and a well-rested defense should be able to mute Barkley and Beckham to a point where this game may appear close, but won’t feel it. 

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