Monsters of the Midway have been cowering under the wind and icy downpours of late autumn. For all of our talk about the “tanking” teams of the league like Cincinnati and Miami, there’s no more-vulnerable club in the NFL right now than the 0-in-6 New York Giants…and the betting public likes the Big Blue to cover at Soldier Field this Sunday. That’s how de-valued Chicago has become as a football franchise in mid-season.
Position-production is cyclical, though, and you only have to look at the Browns or the Raiders for examples of AFC clubs (and QBs) who have been touted, written-off, and finally respected again…all in less than 1 full season.
The Chicago Bears have a starting quarterback no one outside of Chi-town is in love with, and there’s a question as to whether opening odds are still a matter of reputation…or if Mitch Trubisky has something left in the gas tank.
Who: New York Giants at Chicago Bears
When: Sunday, November 24th, 1 PM EST
Where: Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
Lines: NYG (+6) at CHI (-6) / O/U Total: (40)
Consensus around the league appears to be that Chicago ((-6) and tightening ATS thanks to gambling pressure) will not be able to put the pieces together and go on a late hot streak thanks to inefficiency at the QB position. I got into it with a Twitter pundit this week who called Mitch Trubisky “pathetic.”
You can’t handicap NFL quarterbacks that way because football is relative, and the 64 1st and 2nd-string QBs of The Shield would be/have been dazzling in any other competitive situations. The presence of the top 50 athletes at any position in any sport competing at something brings the potential for last-minute turnarounds and the solving of problems; Derek Carr of the Raiders was supposedly “pathetic” just a short time ago.
To be sure, at the moment the Windy City offense resembles the unit visiting from New York on Sunday. Chicago has lost 4-of its last 5 games and heads into Sunday off a 17-7 loss to the L.A. Rams. Trubisky exited early after throwing for just 190 yards on 24-of-43 passing attempts. There was no obvious injury at the time, but Nagy insists his QB had suffered a hip-pointer. Chase Daniel isn’t expected to see a whole lot of action in Week 12.
Skipper Matt Nagy has caught some flack for the way he has used his running backs. We never truly know what is going on behind the scenes, but with the explosiveness rookie RB David Montgomery flashed in the preseason, many thought he would play a more-prominent role in the Bears offense. It’s now a month ago Montgomery was given a full workload in a 17-16 loss to the Chargers, a game in which the former Iowa State star ripped off 135 yards on 27 carries, but he has mostly looked ineffective since. He ran for just 31 yards on 14 carries in the loss last week.
Nobody is talking about the Bears’ blocking, cohesion, and discipline at the LOS which is actually the key to it all. Kurt Warner has never spoken about quarterbacks being “good or bad,” but rather “having success.” To have success, you have to execute the formula the team has for winning. Chicago doesn’t have to score a thousand points – its defense will be aided by a blustery wind (imagine that) and a sagging Miami side. The Bears aren’t bad at QB when you consider that not many teams boast such a reliable, combat-tested #2 guy. As the up-and-coming sportswriter Marisa Ingemi is fond of pointing out, Chase Daniel is a sentence.
New York has lost 6 in a row and suffers from a weak defensive backfield and flaky pass-blocking. QB Daniel Jones has also had his struggles after a promising start. The electric Saquon Barkley has not been able to get anything going since his return from an ankle injury:
Barkley is not a superhero, but he is a superior football player. There is no way, no how he should ever — ever — finish a game in which the ball was handed to him 13 times and come away with 1 yard. That is 3 feet. That is 36 inches. That is .914 meters, if you prefer. It is an impossibly low total that is wholly unacceptable, for Barkley, for those paid to block for him, for coaches who get paid to win with him, for scouts and front office executives who deemed Barkley worthy of the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Giants hope Barkley has a long and productive career and they must insist he never has a game as humbling and wasteful as he did nearly two weeks ago against the Jets.
I’m going vs the betting public on the crucial “extra-point eraser” point spread. Chicago winning this contest by a TD or more is a 60%-likely outcome.