Giants vs. Bears: Preview, predictions, what to watch for

An inside look at Sunday’s Giants-Bears Week 17 matchup at Soldier Field.

Marquee matchup

Bears DE Robert Quinn vs. Giants LT Andrew Thomas

Thomas comes into the game having allowed only one sack all season. If he leaves the game the same way it will have been quite an accomplishment.

With 17 sacks, Quinn is second in the NFL to T.J. Watt (17.5) and he is tied with Richard Dent for the Bears’ single-season sack record.

Quinn is on a tear, with 11.5 sacks in his last seven games, and has an array of pass-rush moves that will challenge Thomas’ technique and physical readiness.

Thomas is starting to live up to his lofty draft status (No. 4 overall in 2020) and he is looking for a strong finish to his second season.

Andrew Thomas and Robert Quinn
Bill Kostroun; AP

Paul’s pick

The Giants went eight consecutive games with at least one interception and now have gone four straight without one. They could use a few of them to generate some points or field position for an offense that needs plenty of help. Mike Glennon versus Andy Dalton. That going to excite you? Hello? You still there? Drink plenty of caffeine before tuning into this one.

Bears 17, Giants 9.

Four downs

Do your job: In the litigious world we live in, players on the Giants’ defense can sue for nonsupport. The offense is 30th in the NFL, averaging 16.5 points a game. The defense is 21st in the league, allowing 24.3 points a game. Most recently, the defense played well enough to win but the Giants lost to the Dolphins and Cowboys. It wears on guys.

“The thing is, you’ve got to worry about what you can worry about, so that’s what we talk to the guys about,’’ defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said. “In terms of defense, our job is to keep them from scoring more points than the offense, period, point blank. That’s our job. Unfortunately for 11 or 12 games we haven’t been able to do that. There’s no selling it, I don’t think. It’s just that’s the job description and everyone knows what we signed up for.’’

Failure to launch: Freddie Kitchens, elevated to play-caller after offensive coordinator Jason Garrett was fired, did not hesitate when he was asked what he tried to emphasize after he took over.

“Trying to run the ball more efficiently and effectively,’’ Kitchens said. “I think that’s where it all starts with any offense. I think we made a concerted effort to try to do that. Sometimes you have more success than others and your goal every week is to be able to run the ball.’’

The Giants are 27th in the league in rushing, at 95.5 yards per game, and the inability of Saquon Barkley to regain his athletic gifts, added to poor run-blocking, make this a mess.

Make your mark: Jarren Williams is carving out an NFL career for himself. Undrafted out of Albany, the odds were stacked against him but he has impressed this coaching staff after his promotion from the practice squad. Starting in place of injured Adoree’ Jackson, Williams has shown strong tackling skills at cornerback and he has not been picked on badly in coverage.

“Baller,’’ Jackson, listed as questionable, said of Williams. “I told him, ‘I’m really proud of you. The way you handled yourself, composed, being hurt earlier in the year, coming back and sticking through it and grinding, it’s all paying off.’ So, I’m excited and proud of him.’’

Wear a scarf: A while back, Joe Judge was asked about playing the Bears in Chicago in early January and he said, “The colder the better.’’ Judge will get the winter weather and elements he desires. The high temperature is expected to be 24 degrees, with wind gusts of 20-30 miles per hour, with morning snow showers tapering off in the afternoon. In days gone by, the Giants would try and possibly succeed in keeping the ball on the ground in conditions such as this. Can Barkley and Devontae Booker keep their footing and find a few holes to run through?

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