Giants at Bears | Week 12 Preview

Bob Folger

When Giants fans sit down to this year’s Thanksgiving dinner, their talk will not be about playoff positioning. 

It will be about draft positioning.

A third straight lost Thanksgiving means that some Giants fans will be hoping their team “runs the table” from their current 2-8 to 2-14. This could get them a new head coach and a high pick in every round of the draft.

Whoopee!

Other diehards will stubbornly hope to see some competitive fire out of their young players, a few slivers of youthful potential to give hope for an admittedly dubious future.

Either way, following this Giants team these days is tough love.

The Giants will be facing a 4-6 Bears team that has also disappointed, especially on offense.

Like the Jets two weeks ago, this Bears offense is ranked near the bottom of every offensive category.

The Giants proceeded to “cure” those Jets, who broke the 30-point barrier that day and felt so good about themselves that they did it again the following week.

That’s what this Giants defense has done this year; it cures offenses. And right now, no quarterback in the NFL is in more need of a Giants cure than the Bears’ Mitchell Trubisky.

Trubisky has taken a big step back from last year’s solid 12-4 playoff run. When his game works, it is predicated on mobility (432 rushing yards in 2018) and an efficient short-passing game.

This year, he’s not using his legs as much, which is putting too much pressure on a mediocre arm, a mediocre offensive line, and a mediocre skill group.

That pretty much means he’s not getting a lot of help. In his past three games, Trubisky hasn’t eclipsed the 200-yard passing mark once.

However, after watching game film of his opponent’s historically bad pass defense, who could blame him if he has a sliver of hope of being cured

Will there be any changes in that Giants defense coming off the bye week? Perhaps young cornerback Sam Beal, who got his NFL feet wet two weeks ago, will get more playing time.

Maybe the coaches will find ways to take advantage of edge rusher Lorenzo Carter’s versatility, but the second-year player’s production has been woefully inconsistent.

There’s also a chance that defensive back Julian Love, the team's fourth-round pick this year, will finally see the field.

This defense desperately needs talent, which is why draft positioning is so important to some. It also needs some of its current youth to step up and be counted. To date, it has done very little of that.

On offense, the continued development of quarterback Daniel Jones remains the organization’s top priority.

There is no position in the world of sports that can elevate the play of his teammates more than an accomplished NFL quarterback. The brightest spotlight in this dark season needs to continue to shine on Jones’ slow but steady improvement.

We are not particularly worried about the rookie’s ball security issues as it’s a problem for every rookie quarterback who has been pushed into a starting role too soon.

The minute the coaches inserted him into the starting lineup in Week 3 was the moment they threw in the towel on this season. Jones has hurt his team with turnovers and missed opportunities, but he has also rebounded from every single misstep and given his team a chance.

With experience, the youngster will learn to limit the high-leverage situations he’s been putting himself into. Jones is learning on the fly and must learn from his mistakes.

The good news is that he looks like the real deal in a number of important ways. The bad news is that he’s still making rookie mistakes, and he will continue to make rookie mistakes. That’s part of the deal.

Jones has also had to deal with a coaching staff that seems over-matched week in and week out. The lack of variety and imagination in Pat Shurmur’s offensive scheme is as shocking as it is discouraging.

These last six games will go a long way towards deciding Shurmur’s head coaching fate. To date, he has not impressed.

If it all falls apart, and the team does indeed “run the table” to 2-14, we can't see any justification for Shurmur to be retained.

In order to stick around, Shurmur’s team needs to make a stand, be competitive, perhaps win a game it’s not expected to win.

The Bears need to be that team, but it won’t be easy. Though the Bears are a disappointing 4-6 they have not been blown out once all year, and that’s primarily because their defense is legit.

Edge Khalil Mack is as good as it gets at his position, but even his greatness has not been enough to overcome his bumbling offense.

If the Giants do end up winning this game, they will have found a way to sustain Trubisky’s bumbling ways. They will also have had to play mistake-free football, and gotten Saquon Barkley the ball in space--two things that not have been happening much of late.

If the more logical result occurs and the defense cures Trubisky’s woes, it could all fall apart and turn into a Bears blowout, which would make the “run the table” fans happy, at least.

It would also drive another stake into the heart of Shurmur’s head coaching future with this team, but that’s life in the big city: Produce and stay, or lose and leave.

The ball is in Mr. Shurmur’s court.

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