One of my worst habits over the years popped up late in the week when I was trying to put together this week’s Game Preview — specifically, which player I wanted to highlight as the New York Giants player to watch on the offensive side of the ball.
It was a mental tussle between star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and stud rookie running back Saquon Barkley. You could make strong cases for both players as being the guy the Bears need to stop in order to give themselves the best chance to win. In the end, I chose Beckham over Barkley. But to hear Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan talk about it, maybe it should have been Barkley?
Let’s give No. 59 our eyes and ears:
"He was held to high expectation and he's lived up to it. So we have to live up to our expectation and shut this down." – @Grindin_59 on facing Saquon Barkley this Sunday 🐻
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) November 30, 2018
If you’ll recall, we were pretty high on Barkley entering the 2018 NFL Draft. We wondered what would happen if Barkley – viewed by many as the best player in the draft – was the best player available when the Bears were on the clock. And we even opined the Bears would be foolish to pass on Barkley if the opportunity arose. To this point, he has exceeded even our high expectations.
Barkley has gained 1,410 yards from scrimmage (829 rushing, 581 receiving) with 12 total touchdowns and is a slam-dunk to be named the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year at season’s end. He has four 100-yard rushing games and three multi-TD games. Barkley has found pay-dirt five times in the last two weeks and has done a ton of damage on the ground, averaging 6.1 yards per carry in his last two games.
We called Beckham a menace when we wrote up the Game Preview. But when you really dive deeper into the numbers, you can make an argument that Barkley can be far more problematic to stop from the perspective of the Bears defense.
The challenge is right there for the Bears. Will they answer the call?
Chicago Bears (8-3, 1st NFC North) at New York Giants (3-8, 4th NFC East) – noon CT, FOX (Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver), WBBM-AM 780, WCFS-FM 105.9
Odds: Bears (-3), Over/Under 43, via the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas.
Game Thread and Week 13 Preview
It’s been a while since we’ve had a noon start! Your game thread is down in the comments, so let’s have some good, clean (safe-for-work) fun. And hopefully, we can watch the Bears keep on keepin’ on while QB1 is on the mend.
Matt Nagy (8-3) vs. Pat Shurmur (3-8 with Giants, 13-21 overall)
Bears: Chase Daniel: 710 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT, 67.8 completion pct., 89.4 rating (career)
Last week at Lions: 27-37, 230 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 106.8 rating
Giants: Eli Manning: 3,093 yards, 14 TD, 7 INT, 69.1 completion pct., 96.2 rating
Last game at Eagles: 26-37, 297 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 91.8 rating
#Bears Inactives at NYG:
— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) December 2, 2018
Bears Expected Offensive Starters
- QB Chase Daniel
- RB Jordan Howard
- RB Tarik Cohen
- WR Allen Robinson
- WR Taylor Gabriel
- TE Trey Burton
- LT Charles Leno Jr.
- LG James Daniels
- C Cody Whitehair
- RG Bryan Witzmann
- RT Bobby Massie
Bears Expected Defensive Starters
- DT Akiem Hicks
- NT Eddie Goldman
- OLB Khalil Mack
- ILB Danny Trevathan
- ILB Roquan Smith
- OLB Leonard Floyd
- CB Kyle Fuller
- CB Prince Amukamara
- CB Bryce Callahan
- FS Eddie Jackson
- SS Adrian Amos
- Cody Parkey (kicker), Pat O’Donnell (punter, holder), Patrick Scales (long snapper), Benny Cunningham, Taquan Mizzell Sr. (kick returners), Tarik Cohen (punt returner)
— New York Giants (@Giants) December 2, 2018
Giants Offense Expected Starters:
- QB Eli Manning
- RB Saquon Barkley
- FB Eljhaa Penny
- WR Odell Beckham Jr.
- WR Sterling Shepard
- TE Scott Simonson
- LT Nate Solder
- LG Will Hernandez
- C Spencer Pulley
- RG Jamon Brown
- RT Chad Wheeler
Giants Defense Expected Starters:
- LDE B.J. Hill
- NT Dalvin TOmlinson
- RDE Kerry Wynn
- OLB Kareem Martin
- ILB Alec Ogletree
- ILB Tae Davis
- ROLB Olivier Vernon
- CB Janoris Jenkins
- CB B.W. Webb
- FS Curtis Riley
- SS Landon Collins
- Aldrick Rosas (kicker), Riley Dixon (punter, holder), Zak DeOssie (long snapper), Jawill Davis, Odell Beckham Jr. (punt returners), Corey Coleman, Saquon Barkley (kick returners)