NFL Predictions: Giants at Bears Week 6 Odds and Picks
by Alan Matthews - 10/8/2013
If you would have told me that a New York football team would have had three wins through Week 5 and be in contention in its division, I would have said that sounded right. If you would have told me that team was the Jets and not the Giants, I would have said “shut the bleep up!” I wasn't sure the Jets would win three games all season, but there they are at 3-2 following Monday's surprising win at Atlanta. The Giants, meanwhile, are one of four winless teams along with Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Jacksonville.
How can a team with Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz be 0-5? It just proves that you need success on both the offensive and defensive fronts to be a good team. The Giants are terrible there so far. No 0-5 team has ever reached the playoffs, and I think it's all but a lock that Giants coach Tom Coughlin doesn't return next season -- yet maybe Rex Ryan does. Totally surprising.
As for the Bears, they won their first three games somewhat with mirrors. Coach Marc Trestman's offense looked better but still not sharp. Well, that offense has stunk at the beginning of losses to the Lions and Saints the past two weeks. Jay Cutler would end up with big numbers, but that was largely in just getting the Bears to within a score that made the games look more competitive. Chicago is still atop the NFC North with Detroit but better win this game. The Bears' next two games: at Washington (then a bye) and at Green Bay. That looks like potentially 3-5 with a loss on Thursday.
Giants at Bears Betting Story Lines
Manning looks lost so far, although his offensive line certainly deserves a lion's share of the blame. Manning has thrown at least one pick in all five games and at least three in three of them (all three of his picks Sunday were in the fourth quarter). He leads the NFL with 12 picks and 14 turnovers overall. His 65.8 rating and 53.7 completion percentage are both 32nd in the NFL. Manning has been sacked 15 times -- league-low 20 last year -- and rather amazingly had three intentional grounding penalties on Sunday. That offensive line will for sure be without former Pro Bowl guard Chris Snee again Thursday as he's been ruled out for the season. Center David Baas also is expected to sit again.
Manning isn't getting much help from his running backs, either, as New York ranks dead last in rushing at 56.8 yards per game. The Giants managed only 53 yards on the ground against a terrible Eagles defense in Sunday's 36-21 loss. Starter David Wilson left the game early with an injury and is almost certainly out this week. That means some combo of Brandon Jacobs and Da'Rel Scott, not exactly a scary proposition for Chicago.
New York's defense hasn't been much better, allowing a league-high 182 points. Some of that certainly is due to all the turnovers by the offense -- 20 in total. The Giants and the 1955 Chicago Cardinals are the only NFL teams to allow at least 31 points in each of their first five games.
There was one huge bright spot for Chicago in its 26-18 home loss to New Orleans on Sunday. Second-year receiver Alshon Jeffery caught 10 passes for a team-record 218 yards with a touchdown. Alas, all those passes to Jeffery only seemed to peeve diva Brandon Marshall. He was targeted just five times and caught four for 30 yards. He started the season with back-to-back 100-yard games but has totaled only 161 in the past three. Teams are bracketing him and forcing Cutler to go to Jeffery, tight end Martellus Bennett or running back Matt Forte. Bennett has a minor knee injury but should play against his former team. Cutler has thrown for at least 317 yards in the past two games, but, again, mostly in catch-up mode.
Giants at Bears NFL Week 6 Betting Odds and Trends
At WagerWeb, the Bears opened as 7.5-point favorites with a total of 47. New York is 0-5 ATS this season (0-3 on road) and 3-2 “over/under” (1-2 away). Chicago is 1-3-1 ATS (0-2-1 at home) and 4-1 O/U (2-1 at home). The Giants are 4-1 ATS in their past five Thursday games. They are 0-5 ATS in their past five after a loss and have now dropped seven straight ATS on the road. The Bears are 1-4-1 ATS in their past six Thursday games. Chicago is 1-4 ATS in its past five home games against teams with a losing road record. The under is 5-0 in New York's past five Thursday games. The over is 6-0 in Chicago's past six against teams with a losing record. The road team has covered five of the six meetings (last played 2010).
NFL Predictions: Giants at Bears Week 6 Betting Picks
Maybe the Giants are simply this bad. After all, Eli is 3-10 in his past 13 games. He's clearly pressing and admitted this week he has to play smarter after Coughlin called him out. The Bears have had trouble getting to the quarterback, but that problem could be solved against that porous offensive line. And while the Bears' defensive numbers aren't great, they still can force takeaways as well as anyone with 14.
All that said, I expect Manning to throw it 50 times and keep New York in the game. Bears shutdown corner Charles Tillman is nowhere near 100 percent, and he can't cover both Cruz and Nicks anyway. Bears should win but Giants cover. Take the over. Part of me wants the Giants to get the top overall pick in next year's draft to see if they'd dare take Teddy Bridgewater and put Manning's career on the clock. But this team is still too talented to not win a handful of games.
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