1. Antrel Rolle v. Greg Olsen. The bears wanted Rolle in the offseason but couldnt afford him after their free agency binge. He has been a very good free safety in the past and someone who can cover almost as well as a corner. He has had a tough season so far by running his mouth to the media and drawing an personal foul last game (but who on the giants didnt?). He will have his hands full with the juggernut that is Greg Olsen. Olsen is clearly Culter's security blanket and in each game he has put up better numbers. Cutler just throws the ball up and lets Greg and his blonde locks jump up and grab the ball. Not a bad idea when he has safeties lined up on him. I expect to see Rolle covering Olsen about 50% of the time. If that is the case, look for Culter to hit Olsen with a jump ball down the seam.
2. Ahmad Bradshaw v. Bears' over pursuing defense. The bears have the best run defense in the NFL and the Giants' run game has been not existant so you wouldnt think this would be a problem. But, the problem is that the bears are all about pursuing to the ball on defense and Bradshaw is maybe the best back in football besides CJ & AP at cutting off the backside. If the bears on defense dont maintain their gap assignments, Bradshaw will have some great opportunities to cutback on a run play or on screen/swing passes and hit a home run. Discipline has to be a key for the bears defense.
Keys for the Bears
1. Stop the YAC. I mean we know the Giants will throw for 300+ yards, who hasnt?. But with no offense to the packers' and cowboys' WRs, i think the giants' WRs are the best group the bears will have seen. Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham are legit deep threats who are big run after the catch guys too. Bradshaw excels at picking big yards on little swing passes and Steve Smith and Kevin Boss catch balls across the middle better than anyone. All these guys can be dangerous with the ball in their hands so the bears need to rally up and tackle quickly to stop big plays.
2. Survive the first quarter. I think the Giants are ripe for disaster. Their season is on the brink and they are gonna come out with a ton of energy with the crowd behind them. But if the bears can keep it close or even have a lead going into the 2nd quarter, the giants and the crowd could fall apart. Just dont turn the ball over and give the Giants hope. Play them even in the 1st quarter and watch'em fold like they did last week.
3. The deep ball. I think this goes along with key #2 but if the bears complete a couple deep throws, watch the giants defense totally deflate. I'm the defense will come out with blitzes and try to hit Cutler and force turnovers. If the bears hit on a couple of deep routes in the 1st half watch the middle of the field open up and the defense become less aggressive and maybe the bears can control the clock.
Hero of the Day: Matt Toeaina, DT
I wanted to pick someone on the D-line not named Peppers because I really expect 4 sacks from the Bears in this game. I think the Giants will be 1 dimensional and be throwing the entire game. Plus, their line hasnt played well this year and Eli really isnt that mobile of a QB. So, sacks can be had on the Giants. Toeaina has played the best of any of the other D-linemen and he has steadily seen move snaps. Look for him to have a sack and a forced fumble and constant pressure all night.
Bears 31, Giants 17. I think the bears will jump out to a huge lead and the Giants will have to be throwing for the rest of the game and then look for a couple of picks off Eli. This should be the easiest bears win of the year. 4-0 here we come!