The Bears will look to snap their two-game losing streak and take sole possession of first place in the NFC North Thursday night when they host the winless Giants at Soldier Field.
The Bears (3-2) will enter Week 6 tied with the Lions (3-2) atop the division after getting off to a slow start on offense and committing costly mistakes last Sunday in a 26-18 loss to the Saints.
|Cornerback Tim Jennings and the Bears will host the Giants on NFL Network's "Thursday Night Football."|
The offense eventually clicked, especially through the air. Jay Cutler completed 24 of 33 passes for 358 yards with two touchdowns and a 128.1 passer rating that was the highest by a Bears quarterback in a loss since 1996. Alshon Jeffery set a franchise receiving record with 218 yards.
The Giants (0-5) have struggled mightily this season, losing to the Cowboys 36-31, Broncos 41-23, Panthers 38-0, Chiefs 31-7 and Eagles 36-21. Their minus-100 point differential is second worst in the NFL behind the hapless Jaguars (minus-112) and they've become the first team to allow at least 31 points in each of their first five games since the 1954 Chicago Cardinals.
The Giants have committed an NFL-high 20 turnovers in five games, just one shy of their total from all of last season. Two-time Super Bowl champion Eli Manning has thrown a league-high 12 interceptions, including three in the fourth quarter of last Sunday's loss to the Eagles.
Manning will face a Bears defense that allowed a touchdown or field goal on 13 of 24 possessions the past two weeks in back-to-back losses to the Lions and Saints. The Bears have permitted at least 21 points in each of their first five games for the first time since 1997.
The Bears have been decimated by injuries at the defensive tackle position. Nate Collins tore his ACL against the Saints last Sunday exactly two weeks after Henry Melton sustained the same injury in Pittsburgh. Stephen Paea sat out versus New Orleans with a toe injury and is questionable for Thursday night's contest at Soldier Field.
The rash of injuries will force the Bears to start defensive end Corey Wootton inside at the three technique position for the second straight game and also rotate in Landon Cohen and perhaps undrafted rookie Zach Minter at tackle.
Paea is among four Bears starters who are listed as questionable on the injury report. The others are linebacker Lance Briggs (foot/hip), cornerback Charles Tillman (knee) and tight end Martellus Bennett (knee). Coach Marc Trestman is optimistic that all four will play.
The Bears lead the all-time series with the Giants 32-22-2 and have won two of the last three meetings since 2004, though they've lost all four games at Soldier Field since 1992.
The Giants won the last meeting 17-3 on Oct. 3, 2010 at the Meadowlands. Cutler was sacked an NFL-record nine times in the first half before exiting with a concussion. The offense managed just 110 total yards and six first downs and went 0-of-13 on third down. The defense kept the Bears in the game, holding the Giants without a first down on 9 of 11 possessions through three quarters.
In total yards, the Bears offense is 11th in the NFL (16th rushing and 12th passing), while the Giants defense ranks 26th (tied for 27th against the run and 22nd versus the pass). The Bears defense is 20th overall (13th against the run and 24th versus the pass, while the Giants offense is 20th (32nd rushing and 10th passing).