The Bears (8-3) will look to win their sixth straight game and at least maintain their first-place lead in the NFC North Sunday when they visit the New York Giants (3-8) at MetLife Stadium.
Returning to the practice field for the first time in a week Wednesday, the Bears should be refreshed and revitalized. They recently won three games against division opponents in a 12-day span, capped by last Thursday's 23-16 victory over the Lions. The stretch enabled the Bears to build a game-and-a-half lead over the Vikings (6-4-1) atop the NFC North.
Matt Nagy is the first Bears coach to win five straight games in his first season since Paddy Driscoll in 1956. The Bears remain the only NFL team that ranks in the top five in both points scored per game (fifth with 28.8) and points allowed (second with 19.2).
The Giants (3-8) are in last place in the NFC East. After losing five straight to fall to 1-7, they recorded back-to-back wins over the 49ers and Buccaneers before blowing a 19-3 lead in a 25-22 loss to the Eagles last Sunday in Philadelphia.
The main storyline of the week figures to be the status of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who sat out the Thanksgiving win over the Lions after sustaining a right shoulder injury five days earlier in a Sunday night victory over the Vikings. The second-year pro was not expected to practice Wednesday, but he still could recover in time to start against the Giants.
Backup Chase Daniel proved to be a valuable insurance policy in Detroit, leading the Bears to their fifth straight win despite not taking any full-speed reps in practice during the short week leading up to the game. Making just his third start in nine NFL seasons, Daniel completed 27 of 37 passes for 230 yards with two touchdowns, no turnovers and a 106.8 passer rating.
Defense remains dominant
The Bears defense has excelled throughout the season. A total of 15 different players have recorded a sack, 10 have registered an interception and four have scored touchdowns.
Khalil Mack leads the Bears with eight sacks and is tied for the NFL lead with five forced fumbles. Eddie Jackson leads the league with three defensive touchdowns. Kyle Fuller is tied for second in the NFL with five interceptions.
Jackson was named NFC defensive player of the week for his performance against the Lions. For the second straight game, the second-year safety returned an interception for a key second-half touchdown in a one-score victory over a division opponent.
The Bears defense ranks No. 1 in the league with 29 takeaways, 20 interceptions, lowest passer rating allowed (78.3), fewest rushing plays allowed of 10 or more yards (16), three-and-out percentage (.268), fewest rushing touchdowns (4) and fewest yards per rush permitted (3.58).
As a team, the Bears rank first in the NFL with 104 points off takeaways and are tied for first with a plus-14 turnover margin, five red-zone takeaways and 15 forced fumbles.
The Bears enter Week 13 ranked 21st in offense in the NFL (15th rushing and 20th passing) and 4th in defense (2nd against the run and 10th versus the pass. The Giants rank 20th in offense (29th rushing and 12th passing) and 23rd in defense (26th against the run and 18th versus the pass).
Nagy will address the media Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, while offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor will talk Thursday.
The Bears lead the series 33-23-2 over the Giants but have lost three of the last four. The Bears dropped the last meeting 22-16 on Nov. 20, 2016 at MetLife Stadium. The Bears produced two touchdowns and a field goal on their first three possessions to take a 16-6 lead, but they were outscored 16-0 over the game's final 33 minutes. The Bears rushed for 88 yards on 17 carries in the first half, but were limited to five yards on eight attempts in the second half.
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