Thursday Night Football: Giants Hurting, Bears Injured

The Chicago Bears are banged up, but the New York Giants are reeling. Can New York get its first win of the season on Thursday Night Football? Big Blue felt it had its best chance to get off the schneid this past Sunday at home against the Philadelphia Eagles, but the Giants couldn’t even capture that game. A short week plus a road trip to Chicago does not seem to promise New York the best avenue of opportunity. Yet, Chicago’s pass rush could be nonexistent due to a steady parade of injuries. How will the NFL betting balance of this game be changed by the Bears’ injury problems on defense?

New York Giants @ Chicago Bears

Thursday, October 9th – 8:30 PM ET

Soldier Field – Chicago, IL

NFL Odds: Chicago -9.5

Why The Giants Can Cover The Spread:

Their subpar offensive line just might be facing a defensive line it can handle. Chicago’s defensive front was one of the stronger aspects of the team at the start of the season, but it is now an unquestioned weakness due to injuries. Starter Henry Melton, an elite player in the NFL, was knocked out for the rest of the season a few weeks ago, and this past Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, another starting defensive lineman, tackle Nate Collins, was injured for the rest of 2013 with an injury similar to Melton’s. Yet a third defensive lineman, Stephen Paea, has also battled injuries. He has expressed the belief that he will be able to play this week, but his status is far from certain. Moreover, even if he plays, he might not be fully ready to play at his best. The Giants basically have an opponent that will not be able to generate a lot of pressure from its base front four. The Giants might have problems picking up blitzes, but they should not struggle at all in terms of basic pass protection. This is what quarterback Eli Manning has been looking for and hoping for this season. If Manning has plenty of time to throw the ball, the Giants – despite their lack of a proven running game – can pass the ball on almost every down and use an aggressive approach to get lots of big plays down the field. New York certainly has a path to victory here.

Why The Bears Can Cover The Spread:

Their opponent is awful. The Giants allowed 36 points to the Philadelphia Eagles even on a day when Philly quarterback Michael Vick went down with an injury and was replaced by backup Nick Foles. The Giants’ offense has its fair share of problems, especially the lack of a healthy and physical offensive line, but the defense has been just as hard to watch this season. New York’s secondary has been hammered all season long, beginning with the Dallas Cowboys in week one and continuing with the Denver Broncos in week two. The Carolina Panthers scored 38 points against this defense, making the Eagles’ 36-point output seem ordinary by comparison. There’s just nowhere for this defense to turn; it is a mess, just like the rest of the Giants as a whole. Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler should make lots of big plays against New York.

Outlook:

The Bears might have a weak pass rush, but they’re better than New York at most positions on the field. They’re also playing at home during a short week, which should help them more than the Giants, who have to travel. New York might score 24, but Chicago could hang 40 on the Giants. The over might be the best play on the total but for the NFL spread, take the Bears.

Pick: Chicago -9.5

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