Bears go for sixth in row at Giants
The Chicago Bears could be without their starting quarterback for a second straight game when they visit the New York Giants on Sunday afternoon.
Mitchell Trubisky is dealing with an injury to his throwing shoulder that forced him to miss the Thanksgiving Day win at Detroit and his status is unclear for Chicago, which is riding a five-game winning streak and sits atop the NFC North.
Backup Chase Daniel acquitted himself well against the Lions despite the short work week, throwing for 230 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for the Bears (8-3), who haven't lost since a 38-31 defeat to New England on Oct. 21.
"I'm a perfectionist so what I try to do is look at the negatives of the game and try to improve on it," Daniel said. "And there were 10 incompletions; some of those should've been completions. Four sacks, too many. Those were all on me."
Trubisky, who was hurt at the end of the game against the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 18, was listed as a limited participant in Wednesday's practice but he did not throw. Trubisky could wind up a game-time decision, but Chicago head coach Matt Nagy said he is not worried about a lack of preparation.
"He really hasn't been in this situation," Nagy said. "I feel like the time that he's put in this season with the reps that he's had, it helps him for being prepared if (with) the decision that we end up going his way. I'm not concerned. You want to make sure that whatever you're doing it's not foreign to him, whether it's reps with routes, etc.
"Just because he's been playing and has had time this year, it wouldn't be that much of a concern."
Nagy quashed the notion that Trubisky's status could hinge on the opponent. With a matchup against the Los Angeles Rams (10-1) looming a week from Sunday, it would seem reasonable that the Bears could rest Trubisky this week to ensure he is fully healthy for the Rams.
"That's where it's different for us, players and coaches, is every one of these games is just so important," Nagy said. "Give me everybody. I want everybody out there and I don't care what the situation is. If you start (deciding based on opponents), you're going to be in trouble and that's not something we're going to do."
Daniel is proceeding as if he'll start against a Giants defense that is ranked No. 23 overall. And he appreciates the opportunity to practice, considering last week he played with only two walk-throughs for a Thursday game.
"It'll be good, to actually get some timing down with the receivers and tight ends and running backs, although I thought it was pretty good last week, too, for not really taking a full-speed rep all week," Daniel said.
The Giants (3-8) had a two-game winning streak snapped in last weekend's 25-22 loss at Philadelphia. New York scored 65 points in wins over San Francisco and Tampa Bay, but the offense ground to a halt after building a 19-3 lead over the Eagles.
Now the Giants must figure out how to get the offense back on track against a Chicago defense that is allowing 15.4 points per game during the five-game winning streak. The Bears also lead the league in interceptions with 20 and are tied for sixth in sacks (34).
"Yeah, when you look at them, they're good against the run, and they do a good job getting sacks and getting turnovers," New York quarterback Eli Manning said. "I think they have a sound defense. It's nothing exotic or confusing. It's just good players and good scheme, and they play fast. You just have to stay on pace and stay in rhythm and avoid those negative plays and don't let them create those big plays."
The Giants are particularly wary of Bears pass-rushing linebacker Khalil Mack, who has a team-leading 8.0 sacks to go along with five forced fumbles. Mack will line up on either side of the line but could be matched up against New York tackles Nate Solder and Chad Wheeler.
"He's just relentless. A great player," said Wheeler, who faced Mack last season. "He has an internal drive that sometimes I match, so you've got to bring it. I want to see what he saw and breakdowns in my pass protection and run blocking, see if I've fixed those or not. That's going to help me out."
Chicago will get its first look at rookie running back Saquon Barkley, who has rushed for 829 yards and eight touchdowns and has 71 catches for four more scores.
Updated November 28, 2018