Arkush: Bears, Giants both playing for a lot of their own jobs

  • New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley will return to Soldier Field for the first time since he tore two ligaments in his right knee against the Bears.  Barkley and the Giants (4-11) return to Chicago to face the Bears (5-10) in a game between teams already out of playoff contention.

    New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley will return to Soldier Field for the first time since he tore two ligaments in his right knee against the Bears. Barkley and the Giants (4-11) return to Chicago to face the Bears (5-10) in a game between teams already out of playoff contention. AP File Photo/Sept. 20, 2020

 
 
Updated 1/1/2022 6:51 PM

The New York Giants and Bears have more in common than their dismal 4-11 and 5-10 records.

The Giants' Daniel Jones is done for the year and Justin Fields is out with an ankle sprain.

 

Will the Giants play be impacted by the reality if the Bears win, their first-round draft choice that belongs to New York from the trade up to draft Fields will become slightly less valuable?

There is also the specter of last season's Week 2 Bears 17-13 win in which Saquon Barkley suffered a season-ending ACL tear.

And head coaches Joe Judge and Matt Nagy enter the game on some of the hottest seats in the NFL -- although Judge is likely to get at least one more season with the Giants.

The Bears are 6-point favorites and the over/under is 37.

Matchups to watch

Giants OLT Andrew Thomas vs. Robert Quinn; Bears defense vs. Giants QB Mike Glennon

Robert Quinn needs one sack to break Richard Dent's single season record of 17½.

Giants left tackle Andrew Thomas was the fourth overall pick in the 2020 draft and he and Quinn will go head-to-head quite a bit.

Glennon had a star-crossed season with the Bears, and while Judge has indicated he and Jake Fromm are both likely to get snaps, Bears fans will be anxious to see the defense take it to Glennon.

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Coaching decisions

Will Matt Nagy play the kids?

While all the promising youngsters logged playing time in Seattle last Sunday Nagy took heat for starting Germain Ifedi at right tackle over Larry Borom, and created even more concern when he struggled to explain why.

We have to assume Allen Robinson will reclaim his starting slot but how many snaps will he take from Dazz Newsome and other untested pass catchers?

Players to watch

Giants Barkley, TE Evan Engram, WR's Kadarius Toney and Kenny Golloday, DE Leonard Williams and DT Dexter Lawrence.

Barkley has been a shadow of his old self since returning from his ACL surgery, Engram is a high ceiling U or move tight end who's never reached that ceiling and Toney and Golloday are serious threats but neither has played to their 1st round pick and high priced free agent price tags.

Williams and Lawrence are former first round picks that anchor the Giants defense up front.

X-factors

Giants RB Devontae Booker, ILB Benardrick McKinney, CB Adoree Jackson; Bears Dalton

Booker has been the Giants' most productive running back as Barkley has struggled to regain his form. The Giants defense has struggled since free agents McKinney and Jackson went down with injuries, and New York has been unable to fill the gaps.

While Dalton gets the start, Foles probably should.

Wild-card players

Giants TE Kyle Rudolph, LB's Reggie Ragland, Tae Crowder

Rudolph has been quiet most of the season since a decade with the Vikings but is still capable if Glennon or Fromm needs a security blanket.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Crowder is an unknown but is the Giants 7th round pick last year out of Georgia who leads the team in tackles and big plays, and Ragland is an aging veteran but still capable of flashing at key moments.

Key stats

Giants 30th in total offense, 31st in points scored (16.5,), 21st in points allowed (24.3)

Bears 9th in total defense, 24th in points allowed (24.9), 28th in points scored (17.7)

Final word

Bears 23, Giants 13

Meaningless games late in the season favor the home team. That the Bears defied that last week in Seattle proves they're still coming to play. The weather forecast called for snow Saturday and subfreezing temperatures Sunday. With the superior ground game all arrows point at the Bears in this one.

• Twitter: @Hub_Arkush

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