Spoiler alert: No, the New York Giants probably cannot get the job done tonight.
New York's biggest hope for an upset victory over the Chicago Bears in the Week 6 Thursday Night Football contest is that Chicago is, like the Giants, limping into the midweek showdown. The Bears are losers of two straight, and they are dealing with numerous injury concerns. That Big Blue has been anything but a wrecking crew since September would be a massive understatement. I, unlike most, actually believe the Giants to be the worst team in the NFL.
New York Giants at Chicago Bears preview, prediction: Different week, same story
The worst rushing attack in all of pro football will be without its top weapon for a game if not for much longer. David Wilson will be sidelined with a neck injury on Thursday night, and it seems likely that he won't be given the OK to play for at least several weeks. There are even growing whispers that his season could be over.
With Wilson definitely out for the Chicago game, New York will look to Da'Rel Scott and Brandon Jacobs to step up. Scott was so lackluster in his 2013 appearances that the Giants actually cut the RB earlier this month. Jacobs has found the end zone just once since returning to the team. The two are averaging for a combined 2.85 yards per carry.
The safe bet is that the New York offense will live and die through quarterback Eli Manning against the Bears. Manning, who has routinely been betrayed by his offensive line and wide receivers in 2013, has been picked off twelve times and sacked on 15 occasions. It's not all bad news for the New York offense, though. Chicago is allowing 278.8 passing yards a game, and the Bears have only accumulated seven team sacks.
New York Giants at Chicago Bears preview, prediction: Ugly match-up
A depleted secondary that hasn't at all been aided by anything resembling a pass rush is set to get picked apart. As much of a pain in the butt as Brandon Marshall can be on and off the field, the 6'4'' wide receiver is also a handful for any defensive back. 6'3'' WR Alshon Jeffery put in a ten-catch performance against the New Orleans Saints last weekend. He could be the favorite target of QB Jay Cutler against New York.
The Giants sacked Cutler nine times in a single half when these two sides met in 2010. That New York pass rush is long gone, something that has been abundantly clear in the team's first five contests. Jason Pierre-Paul specifically has been a ghost coming off of back surgery that he had in the offseason. The G-Men are averaging one sack per contest. Yuck.
New York Giants at Chicago Bears preview, prediction: Prediction
Thursday night regular season games are often sloppy and even boring affairs due to the short turnaround. These contests are more about limiting mistakes and managing the tone of play rather than creating highlight reel moments. New York does not have a player capable of doing that at this time. The Bears do in running back Matt Forte.
Forte should bounce back from what was, for him, a quiet afternoon against the Saints. He is averaging 4.6 yards per carry this season, while the Giants are responsible for the fourth-worst run defense in the league. Feeding Forte early and often looks like the way to go for the Bears.
I'll come right out and say it. There is nothing, statistically speaking or otherwise, that suggests New York can win this game. I don't see a single part of the field where the Giants have any real advantage. The “games aren't won or lost on paper” mantra has always been a favorite of mine. That doesn't change the fact that New York picking up the team's first victory of the campaign on Thursday would be a massive upset.
Prediction: Bears win 23-13