Bears vs. Giants — What to Watch 4

KEY MATCHUP

Two years after he torn his ACL in Week 2 against the Bears, Giants running back Saquon Barkley has regained his old form. The No. 2 overall pick of the 2018 draft has rushed for 317 yards and two touchdowns on 53 carries (6.0 avg.) — including a 68-yard run against the Titans and a 36-yard touchdown run against the Cowboys on Monday night.

Bears linebacker Roquan Smith is coming off a big-impact game, with 16 tackles, two tackles for loss and a fourth-quarter interception that led to the winning field goal against the Texans. He’s looking forward to the challenge.

“He’s a dynamic runner. He’s been that way since college,” Smith said. “He does a lot of different things, but hey, that’s what makes me me. So I look forward to those opportunities to go against a back like that.”

TRENDING

The Bears’ 45 pass attempts this season are the fewest through three games in the NFL since 1972 –when the Bears’ Bobby Douglass completed 15-of-43 passes for 214 yards (but rushed for 247) against the Falcons, Rams and Lions.

“We’ve got to do what’s best across the board — how we can take advantage of matchups sometimes,,” offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said. “And hopefully as we go along, it’ll be different each week. That’s how we view it — it has been different each week. Maybe from an outsider looking in it doesn’t appear that way, but it really has been.”

We’ll see about that. With the Bears second in the NFL in rushing (186.7 yards per game), opponents — like the Giants — figure to load up the box to defend the run, which in theory will open opportunities in the passing game. In theory.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Bears quarterback Justin Fields is under the microscope more than ever after innaccurate throws marked a dismal performance in Week 3. He completed 8-of-17 passes for 106 yards, with notable misses — overthrew on two interceptions and a bad miss on a simple swing pass to running back Trestan Ebner among them.

“Part of the process. That’s all it is,” he said when asked if three weeks of subpar performance have become a mental challenge as well. “It was frustrating for sure. [I’ve] got to learn from my mistakes.”

X-FACTOR

Injuries have started to impact the Bears’ lineup. Cornerback Jaylon Johnson (quad) will miss his second consecutive game — undrafted rookie Jaylon Jones replaced him in the nickel package.

The Giants are playing on a short week after losing 23-16 to the Cowboys on Monday Night Football — with both games at home. But they lost wide receiver Sterling Shepard (13 receptions, 154 yards, on touchdown) to a season-ending torn ACL against the Cowboys, leaving them with Richie James (14-146), David Sills (5-57) and Kenny Golladay (2-22) as the top three receivers for Daniel Jones.

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