Week 6 kicks off Thursday Night Football at Soldier Field between the 0-5 New York Giants and the 3-2 Chicago Bears. This is going to be a Desperation Bowl; the Giants are desperate to win their first game of the season, and the Bears are desperate to not lose three in row.
The New York Giants are 0-5 for the first time since the strike of 1987. Blame is a heavy word and no one in the Giants camp is throwing it onto any one person’s plate. Everyone in the New York camp is shouldering the burden of the Giant’s worst season in over two decades. Coach Tom Coughlin defends quarterback Eli Manning saying, ”people should shift the blame on me,” as ensuring how the team played together, as a whole, is his job, not Manning’s. “It’s a team game,” Coughlin reminded reporters Monday.
Together, the Giants are loyal to each other and united in their desire to win. The loss to the Philadelphia Eagles was a game that many believed the Giants should have won.
Manning had two touchdowns that captured the lead 21-19 in the third quarter. Somehow, for some reason, in the fourth quarter –where Manning has been known to shine- the Giants and their push for points fell apart.
Over the course of the season, Manning has completed 109/203 (53.7%) for 1482 yards and 8 touchdowns. He has thrown 12 interceptions, however, and that is more than any other active quarterback this season. Manning has been sacked 15 times for a loss of 97 yards. The two-time Super Bowl MVP has a passer rating of just 65.8 this season.
Running back David Wilson is out with a neck injury as of Wednesday, so the Giants will have to depend upon Brandon Jacobs and rookie Michael Cox for backfield coverage. New York has also re-signed De’rel Scott to help out behind Manning.
Wilson has 44 carries for 146 yards, averaging 3.3 yards per carry. His longest of the season is 18 yards and he has scored one touchdown. Jacobs has 22 carries for 48 yards, average 2.2 per carry. His longest rush is only seven yards, but he has the New York’s only other rushing touchdown of the season. Scott has 16 carries for 56 yards for a 3.5 per carry average. His longest rush was 16 yards.
Scott also has some numbers on the receiving side, catching 10 passes for 98 yards. He averaged 9.8 yards after the catch and his longest reception was 23 yards. He holds one receiving touchdown. Wilson and Jacobs both have catches, but only for less than 10 yards each and no touchdowns.
For Chicago, quarterback Jay Cutler threw a career high 358 yards for two touchdowns and no interceptions against the New Orleans Saints. Bears D-line held the Saints to 347 yards, and the Saints still managed to win. Factor in the three sacks the Bears’s offense allowed and the Saints revitalized defense; and the picture gains focus.
Cutler has completed 119/181 passes for 1368 yards (65.7%). He has 10 touchdowns and six interceptions. Cutler has been sacked nine times so far this year for a loss of 65 yards.
After two straight losses to the Detroit Lions (40-32) and the Saints (26-18) the Bears may be reeling. This may be another chance for the Giants to take advantage of a team thrown off kilter and land a win. The Bears do not intend to take the Giants for granted. They plan to prepare for them “like a 5-0 team.”
The Bears have always had one of the best turnover rates in the NFL. This year they have intercepted opponents nine times and gained two touchdowns. Their turnover ratio stands at +4.
For Cutler, wide receiver Brandon Marshall has been double teamed so much he turned to WR Alshon Jeffrey 10 times so far. Jeffrey turned those catches into 218 receiving yards, a team-record, and one touchdown. Jeffrey is listed as probable with an ankle injury, however, along with tight end Martellus Bennet and corner back Charles Tillman, both with knee injuries and listed as questionable.
Running back Matt Forte has been the rushing leader, by far, for the Bears this year. He has 81 carries for 375 yards, averaging 4.6 yards per carry. Forte longest run has been for 55 yards and he has three touchdowns.
Manning must hold onto to the ball, and his O-line has to step up and protect him. No quarterback, no matter how good he is, can make something happen if he’s constantly running for his life. Cutler’s line has to do the same. Very little damages a passer’s morale worse than spending the majority of the game picking themselves up.
If it comes down to numbers, the Desperation Bowl should swing to the Bears. However, sheer cussedness and fate could allow the Giants to take advantage of the Bears’ banged up defense.
Written by: Brandi Tasby