BY THE NUMBERS | What You Need to Know About The Giants Week 12 Matchup at Chicago
The New York Giants (2-8) will return to action after a much-needed Week 11 bye and will take on the struggling Chicago Bears (4-6) on Sunday afternoon.
Considered a Super Bowl contender at the beginning of the season, the Bears have looked like anything but this year and find their playoff odds dwindling as each week goes by.
However, despite what their record may indicate, the Bears are still one of the more talented teams in the NFL and if Giants fans truly want to know what to expect this weekend, a better understanding of who exactly their upcoming opponent is would go a long way.
With that in mind, here are five things that Giants fans should know about their team’s Week 12 showdown with the Bears.
1. Khalil Mack isn’t the only elite pass rusher that the Giants should worry about.
This isn’t a knock on Khalil Mack in any way. Even when he has what he would consider an off day, he’s still one of the most dangerous pass rushers in the league. However, the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year isn’t the best pass rusher on his own team this year; statistically speaking, that is.
Defensive tackle Nick Williams, surprisingly, has been Chicago’s most effective pass rusher in 2019 despite playing on just 52 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. Through 10 games, the 29-year-old journeyman leads all Bears pass rushers in sacks (six), tackles for loss (five), and quarterback hits (nine).
Those numbers are nothing to sneeze at--especially for an interior lineman--but how they stack up to other players at his position truly puts WIlliams’ dominance in perspective.
Williams’ six sacks are good for the third-highest total among defensive tackles, while his nine quarterback hits and five tackles for loss are good for fifth- and sixth-best, respectively.
2. Chicago’s defense is dominant and well-rounded.
We’re not talking about the historically dominant ‘85 Bears here, but Chicago’s defense has been one of the NFL’s best in a myriad of statistical categories in 2019.
Through Week 11, the Bears’ defense has dominated their opponents, allowing just 17.4 points per game (No. 4 in the NFL), 322.9 total yards per game (No. 8 in the NFL), 95.6 yards rushing per game (No. 8 in the NFL), and just 1.9 touchdowns per game (No. 3 in the NFL). Additionally, Chicago has held opponents under 20 points in six of the 10 games it's played so far.
Sack totals (25, T-No. 11 in the NFL) are down this year, but a strong argument can be made that the Bears have a championship-caliber defense and would easily be Super Bowl contenders based on the way they’ve stymied their opponents. Unfortunately, the way the team has played on the other side of the ball gives them little chance to prove it.
3. Chicago’s offense is inefficient and one-dimensional.
Chicago finished the 2018 season with a top-10 scoring offense and many pundits believed that the offense could reach incredible heights in Year 2 under head coach Matt Nagy. However, the Bears have been unable to build on the offensive success they experienced last season and have taken a significant step back in 2019.
Balanced playcalling is essential for a successful offense in today’s NFL, but it doesn’t seem like the Bears got that memo. Chicago has run the ball on 37.8 percent of its offensive plays this season and has done so with minimal effect, averaging just 79.9 yards rushing per game (No. 29 in the NFL) and a miserable 3.5 yards per attempt (No. 29 in the NFL).
Without an effective running game to lean on, the Bears have had to rely on quarterbacks Mitchell Trubisky and Chase Daniel to win games through the air, and neither have been able to answer the call thus far. Including sack yards lost, the two quarterbacks have combined for 182.8 yards passing per game (No. 30 in the NFL) and 5.3 yards per attempt (No. 32 in the NFL).
I think you get the point by now, but putting it all together, it’s easy to see why Chicago’s offense is averaging just 16.9 points per game (No. 28 in the NFL) on the year.
4. The Bears may as well punt on third down.
Chicago’s inability to move the ball with effect has frequently put them in third-and-long situations and as one would expect based on the numbers mentioned above, successfully moving the chains has been a major struggle for this team.
The Bears have successfully converted just 30.53 percent (No. 29 in the NFL) of the third-down situations they’ve faced this year, despite averaging 13.1 third downs per game (No. 9 in the NFL). And of the 10 teams that are averaging 13 or more third downs per game in 2019, only the Denver Broncos (28.46 percent) have been less successful than Chicago on third down.
To truly put Chicago’s lack of success on third down in perspective, however, it’s worth mentioning that the Cincinnati Bengals (38.13 percent) and the Miami Dolphins (33.07 percent) - arguably the worst two teams in the NFL - have seen more offensive success on third down than the Bears.
5. The kicking game is still shaky at best.
Finding a reliable kicker was a well-documented struggle in Chicago after Cody Parkey’s infamous "double doink" miss against the Philadelphia Eagles last postseason. Unfortunately for the Bears (or luckily for the Giants), the search for that elusive reliable kicker they need may continue sooner rather than later.
Once thought to be the solution to Chicago’s kicking woes, Eddie Pineiro has been anything but and could be out of a job unless he begins to turn things around. The 24-year-old kicker has hit on just 70.6 percent (12-of-17) of his field-goal attempts this season, the sixth-worst conversion rate of the 31 kickers who have lined up for at least 10 field-goal tries in 2019.
While field goal attempts have clearly been a struggle for him, however, Pineiro has surprisingly been an above-average kicker when lining up for point-after attempts.
Through 10 games, Pineiro has successfully converted 94.4 percent (17-of-18) of his extra-point attempts, the eighth-best mark among qualified kickers (min. 15 attempts).