The New York Giants have yet to win a game in the 2013 season, having a week’s rest in between each contest. Now, the team will look to end their losing streak with just three days to prepare.
Thursday night's matchup will kick off Week Six with New York visiting the Chicago Bears. The Giants are alone in last place of their division, while the Bears are tied for first in the NFC North.
Four NFL teams remain winless, but the Giants may be off to the most disappointing start in the league. They not only have five losses, but their games haven't been very competitive. Following a five-point defeat in the opener, all of New York’s losses have come by at least 15 points. Last week was the only one that saw the Giants open as favorites, but they haven’t covered one point spread.
Eli Manning continues to struggle week after week. Even when facing defenses that rank at the bottom of the league, like the Philadelphia Eagles, he’s made some major mistakes. Three more interceptions in Week Five put him at 12 for the season, giving him three more than Carson Palmer and Matt Schaub, who are tied for No.2 on the list. His 65.8 passer rating is the lowest of any quarterback that hasn’t been benched.
"The guy is trying to play the best he can," head coach Tom Coughlin said. "He's certainly trying to do too much. He knows his team and he knows his responsibility. He's an extremely accountable guy and he's going to do everything he possibly can. Sometimes it's not to be done that way."
The two-time Super Bowl MVP, though, hasn’t gotten the support that he’s received in the past. Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks continue to put up high yardage totals, but they’ve come up short in some key moments. Last week, Nicks appeared to give up on a route that led to an interception. Only four wide outs have registered more yards than Cruz, but he admits he has room to improve.
"It's everyone, the receivers, the offensive line,” said Cruz. “Everyone is to blame for some of these losses."
New York’s rushing attack has been virtually nonexistent in five games. Their 56.8 yards per game is the worst in the league, and they head into Soldier Field undermanned. David Wilson, who has carried the ball twice as many times as any of the team’s other running backs, won’t play because of a neck injury. Brandon Jacobs and a recently re-signed Da'Rel Scott will share time in the backfield.
The Giants are one of the worst teams in the league, but, lately, the Bears have had troubles of their own. Following a 3-0 start, Chicago has lost two in a row. In that time, the usually stout Bears defense has been picked apart. In their defeat to the Detroit Lions, they allowed 40 points. Against the New Orleans Saints, Chicago was burned by failing to force a turnover.
On offense, Jay Cutler has seen a reliable option at wide receiver, other than Brandon Marshall, emerge. Alshon Jeffery set a franchise record on Sunday with 218 yards in his second consecutive strong performance. He may be forced to have another big game, with tight end Martellus Bennett set as a game-time decision.
The Bears are favored by more than a touchdown, but they could be in trouble if they take the Giants lightly. They have a winning record, but only one victory has come by more than a field goal.
“I think they’re a good team,” said Bennett. “I think their win is coming. We just hope it’s not this week. I mean, it’s just like a sleeping giant. Sometimes you get to step over him and you don’t wake him up. Sometimes you try to step over him and he grabs your leg. We don’t want him to grab our legs.”
Start Time: 8:25 p.m. ET
Betting Odds: Chicago -7.5, 47
TV Channel: NFL Network
Live Stream: nfl.com/tnf
Prediction: Chicago 30, New York 17