Joniak: Keys To Bears-Giants

Jeff Joniak
November 22, 2019 - 6:40 pm
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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Here are Jeff Joniak's Keys to the Game for this Sunday's contest between the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants:

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Offense

--It is time to tighten up the bolts.  Everything is loose, creating instability. Everyone grab a wrench and get busy. The offense needs help. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky needs help. If the line, the backs, the receivers, the tight ends, the coaches, and the quarterback can all tighten up their bolts, what is revealed against the Giants will be important moving forward.

--An ailing offense will find opportunities in the “chunk” play department if the Giants defense plays to form. No defense has permitted as many explosive touchdowns (13) on pass plays of 20 yards or more, plus three big touchdown runs. The one big touchdown per game average reveals cracks in the Giants coverage and includes 12 pass plays of 40-plus yards.

--By all accounts, Trubisky enjoyed three good practice days following a right hip pointer. If his pain tolerance remains high, and it does not stiffen up, a good day from the offensive line, a supportive run game, and key contributions from multiple receivers should allow the Bears to move the ball and stay on schedule.

--Scoring points is a season-long problem, limiting mistakes gives the Bears a chance to take advantage of a Giants defense giving up at least 27 points in an NFL-high nine games this season and at least 31 points in six-games, tied for the league lead with Tampa Bay. Opponents have 46 scoring drives on the Giants this season.

--Third-down production has been rough for the Bears, at 26th in the league. Improvement on this down is a necessity after earning less than 3.7 yards per third down attempt.

Defense

--It is not a leap to think the Giants will build the pass game off the run game. It is a continuing theme against the Bears since the Raiders in London. However, the Giants run-pass ratio leans heavily on the pass, at 64-percent, which is fourth-highest in the league.

--Coming out of the bye week may serve reigning offensive rookie of the year Saquon Barkley well, given the remnants of a high ankle sprain. His numbers are down, including a one-yard, 13-carry effort against the Jets. He is also a major threat in the passing game serving as an extension of the run game.

--Barkley hurt the Bears in last December’s overtime loss to the Giants, with 125 yards on the ground. He is capable of busting tackles, but despite that reputation averaged only 1.7 yards after contact last season and 1.2 this season. His excellence comes in his explosion with a crack of daylight, particular on the edges.

--Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano is preaching “No Edge, No Chance” when it comes to stopping Barkley. The edge must be set and maintained the entire game.

--A defense still starving for takeaways face rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, who has fumbled 13 times, including three returned for touchdowns and nine interceptions.  Giants quarterbacks face consistent pressure and in 10 games rarely playing on the lead. They are near the bottom of the league in first half time of possession and 31st in the league and are 25th in scoring in the second half.

--Kahlil Mack is likely to draw significant attention again from extra Giants blockers, but he will have opportunities to win matchups with tackles Nate Solder or Mike Remmers. They have combined to give up 13.5 sacks and 5 holding penalties. The Giants are without outstanding blocking tight end Rhett Ellison and pass catching stud Evan Engram, which should also weaken their protection plan.

Special teams

--Young Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro is coming off two-missed field goals in Los Angeles and will need to navigate the November winds of Soldier Field. He has only eight attempts in the last six games combined.

--Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas has had only one attempt beyond 39 yards among his 10 opportunities this season and has missed three extra points. A season ago, he was outstanding converting on all but two of 64 field goals and extra points.

--Winning the day on special teams will take a complete effort by the Bears. The Giants return units are good and are using multiple weapons.

Intangibles

This is a great chance for the Bears to find some solutions to season-long problems. 

Jeff Joniak is the play-by-play announcer for the Bears broadcasts on WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJoniak.