Chicago Bears: Barkley or bust for the defense

Chicago Bears (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears defense takes on an anemic New York Giants offense Sunday and should key on one player.

On Sunday, the Chicago Bears will return to MetLife Stadium for the first time since 2016 to take on the 3-8 New York Giants. The Giants are going nowhere fast this season. Well, except for Kyle Lauletta, who apparently was trying to at least get somewhere fast. What? Too soon?

In any event, to say the Giants offense is impotent would be an enormous understatement. They’re averaging just 21 points per game this season, and the reality is their offense is essentially two players — Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley.

However, if the Bears want to shut down the Giants on Sunday, they should focus on Barkley. Look, the Giants are 3-8 for a reason, or more accurately a number of reasons. But one of the main culprits of their offensive futility has been their inability to protect Eli Manning.

Heading into their matchup with the Bears, the Giants have given up a whopping 38 sacks. Only the Tennesse Titans (39) have given up more. It doesn’t help that Manning has the mobility and coordination of a blindfolded, newborn giraffe. In any event, I like the Bears chances to get to Manning on Sunday.

If they are able to do that, it is going to make it very difficult for Eli to get into any kind of rhythm with Odell, particularly on deep balls, which Beckham loves. Not to mention the Bears secondary is much improved from last year with Kyle Fuller playing at an All-Pro level this season. You’d have to think that any kind of pressure the front seven is able to get on Eli will all but make it impossible for the Giants to get their passing game going.

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Consequently, the only offensive threat left is Barkley who this season has been the quintessential boom or bust back. He’s had rushing totals of 130 and 142 yards this year. However, he’s also posted totals of 28, 38, 43, 44, 48. Where he has been lethal is as a pass catcher out of the backfield, where he’s caught 71 balls for 581 yards. Therefore, the Bears will need Roquan Smith to shadow Barkley all day.

With the way the Bears play defense, getting pressure on the quarterback, the only player that could conceivably hurt them on Sunday is Barkley. Therefore, the Bears would be wise to make him their focal point.