Bears vs. Giants Preview, Score and More
Chicago's Lovie Smith and New York's Tom Coughlin are both still coaching their teams and Eli Manning is still quarterbacking the Giants, but of the four players who scored touchdowns in that 2007 game, only the Bears' Desmond Clark will play Sunday night. Tackle Barry Cofield and end Osi Umenyiora are the only reguiars left from that Giants defense. Guard Roberto Garza and center Olin Kreutz are the only regulars left from that Chicago offense.
Speaking of the Bears' offense, after a rough 2009 Chicago debut, quarterback Jay Cutler is leading the league in passing for new coordinator Mike Martz. In a reversal of decades of Bears football, Chicago (a surprising 3-0) has become a pass-first team in edging Detroit, Dallas and Green Bay by a total of 15 points.
The Bears' Devin Hester needs one more return touchdown to tie the all-time NFL record of 13. Smith, who's considered to be in serious jeopardy if the Bears don't return to the playoffs for the first time in four years, has teamed with new coordinator Rod Marinelli to help coach more big plays from the veteran defense. Chicago has eight takeaways after producing just 28 all last year, However, end Julius Peppers, the prime free agent of the 2010 offseason, has just one sack.
New York's defense, the prime culprit in the 3-8 crash that turned a 5-0 start into a .500 finish in 2009, isn't allowing that many yards under new coordinator Perry Fewell, but 10 turnovers by Manning and Co. have given opponents too many short fields.
The Giants rallied to beat Carolina in their opener but were crushed at Indianapolis and then came unglued with 12 penalties in losing last week to Tennessee despite a sizable yardage advantage. Receivers Steve Smith and Mario Manningham (apparently recovered from last week's concussion) have combined for 32 catches, but Hakeem Nicks has caught four of Manning's five touchdowns.
Ahmad Bradshaw is averaging 4.9 yards per carry in his first season as the No. 1 back behind a veteran but faltering offensive line which will be without center Shaun O'Hara (ankle) for a second straight game. Linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka has four of New York's six sacks, but will also miss Sunday night's game with a bulging disc in his neck.
Who: Chicago Bears (3-0) vs. New York Giants (1-2)
Where: New Meadowlands Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
When: Sunday, Sept. 26, 8:20 PM EST
TV Coverage: NBC
Players to Watch: Cutler, Hester, RB Matt Forte, Peppers, LB Brian Urlacher, CB Charles Tillman for Bears. Manning, Manningham, Bradshaw, Kiwanuka, S Kenny Phillips, P Matt Dodge for Giants.
Line: Giants by 4
Final Score: Giants 17 Bears 3