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Giants-Bears Preview

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In this Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, file photo, New York Giants head coach Joe Judge, center, watches play from the sidelines during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in East Rutherford, N.J. The Bears hope to win back-to-back games to start a season for the first time in seven years and deny the Giants their first victory under new coach Joe Judge when New York visits Soldier Field on Sunday. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)


CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bears came into the season determined to show they're more like the team that won the NFC North in 2018 than the one that missed the playoffs a year ago.

A narrow escape last week wasn't exactly a strong opening statement. Maybe now, they'll start making a convincing case.

The Bears aim to win back-to-back games to start a season for the first time in seven years and deny the Giants their first victory under new coach Joe Judge when New York visits Soldier Field on Sunday.

Chicago rallied from 17 points down behind three fourth-quarter touchdown throws by Mitchell Trubisky and hung on for a 27-23 victory at Detroit last week. The Giants lost 26-16 to Pittsburgh on Monday night.

''To battle back the way we did says a lot about this team and this offense and what we're capable of,'' Trubisky said.

Coming off an 8-8 year, the Bears looked for three quarters like they were headed toward a loss. But they came out on top in a season opener for the first time since a 3-0 start in 2013.

The Giants, with 12 wins since the 2016 playoff season, also have much room to improve. Saquon Barkley got swarmed by the Steelers and was held to 6 yards on 15 carries in one of his worst games since he was drafted with the No. 2 overall pick in 2018. He'll try to get going against a top 10 defense that got picked apart at times last week.

''We've got to do some things to help Saquon throughout the game,'' Judge said. ''He's a key part of our team, he's an integral part of our offense. We're going to keep feeding him the ball and he's going to make some plays for us.''

UNDER CENTER

A shotgun quarterback since he was in middle school, Trubisky might have a new home under center. He took about half his snaps there in the opener. And it looks like more of that is coming.

''You want to be able to keep things off-balance, and we still have a lot of stuff from the gun,'' coach Matt Nagy said. ''But as we're trying to create this identity of who we are you can probably feel there's a little bit more of that for sure this year.''

The change stems from the Bears' self-scouting in the wake of last season. They decided the offense would work better and keep defenses guessing more with the quarterback taking fewer shotgun snaps.

Trubisky felt the line blocked better when he was under center, that play-action functioned more smoothly, and the passing game benefited as a result.

''If you're just going gun every time, I think it makes it hard on the O-line, they're going to pin their ears back and get a lot of tough rushing,'' he said. ''And if you go under center, it really slows the rush down because they have to respect more of the run factor.''

RUN GAME

The Giants' didn't have a running game against the Steelers.

Not only was Barkley shut down, he had eight rushes for negative yards. His longest run was 7 yards. New York finished the game with 20 carries for 29 yards, largely because quarterback Daniel Jones had four runs for 22 yards.

Much of the pressure is on the revamped O-line.

While guards Will Hernandez and Kevin Zeitler returned, there are three new starters, Andrew Thomas, the No. 4 overall draft pick, is at left tackle. Nick Gates has been converted to a center and veteran Cam Fleming is at right tackle. Look for improvement - or some changes up front.

THIRD RATE

When it came to third-down conversions last week, the Bears were third rate. No surprise, extending drives was a big point of discussion this week.

The Bears were 2 of 11 on third downs in the opener, failed on all six in the first half and missed their first seven in all. They finally broke through late in the third quarter, when Anthony Miller caught an 18-yarder to keep a touchdown drive going.

At 18%, Chicago tied San Francisco for the worst rate in the NFL.

THE OTHER CORNERBACK

The Giants signed a solid cornerback, getting James Bradberry from the Panthers in free agency.

They are still looking for somebody to play the other side. DeAndre Baker was supposed to start, but he was released because of an offseason arrest. Second-year pro Corey Ballentine got the start against the Steelers, and Ben Roethlisberger went after him. Ballentine, who was good in run support, probably will be in the starting lineup again. Don't be surprised if either Isaac Yiadom or Darnay Holmes gets a little more playing time.

GETTING DEFENSIVE

The Bears' defense ranked among the NFL's best in recent years. It was hard to tell at times in the opener.

The Monsters of the Midway gave up 426 yards and sacked Matthew Stafford just one time. They also came up with one turnover, though it was a big one: Kyle Fuller's interception to set up the go-ahead touchdown.

Player Notes
Joey Slye Oct 30 12:40am ET

Carolina Panthers kicker Joey Slye made one field goal and a pair of extra points in a 25-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Slye didn't get many opportunities in this one, as Carolina made just one trip to the red zone against a surprisingly resurgent Falcons' defense. There's not much that a kicker can do when he's simply not seeing the opportunities. With that said, Slye may be needed more in Week 9 against Kansas City, as the Panthers will probably have to put up a lot of points to win.

From RotoBaller

Carolina Panthers Oct 30 12:40am ET

The Carolina Panthers Defense had an average day in a 25-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Carolina registered two sacks and an interception, holding strong on Atlanta's first two trips to the red zone. However, they couldn't stop the Falcons from marching down the field, ultimately surrendering 25 points to their division rival. At this point, there's nothing to suggest that the Panthers' defense is worthy of streaming for fantasy purposes. Don't even think about starting them in Week 9, as they face the Chiefs.

From RotoBaller

Curtis Samuel Oct 30 12:30am ET

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel enjoyed his most productive game of the season in a losing effort against Atlanta. Samuel caught four of five targets for 31 receiving yards and carried the ball three times for 23 rushing yards. The 24-year-old made a nice run in the red zone to start the scoring for the Panthers, then hauled in a deep pass from Teddy Bridgewater on a flea-flicker. It's Samuel's second straight game with a rushing touchdown. This was an encouraging performance from the former Buckeye, though it's worth noting that he was held under 50 receiving yards for the seventh time in eight games. He'll be a low-end flex at best in Week 9 against the Chiefs.

From RotoBaller

Ian Thomas Oct 30 12:30am ET

Carolina Panthers tight end Ian Thomas caught all three targets for 28 receiving yards in a 25-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. It was a juicy matchup for Thomas, but he certainly didn't exploit it, as his modest stat-line will support. His three targets were the most he's seen in weeks, though he seemed to surrender some playing time to fellow tight end Chris Manhertz. It's best to avoid Thomas completely until he picks up his production.

From RotoBaller

D.J. Moore Oct 30 12:10am ET

Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore had a quiet game in a 25-17 loss to the Falcons on Thursday Night Football. Moore caught two of six targets for 55 receiving yards, including a huge 42-yard reception on a 3rd-and-17 in the fourth quarter. In a strange turn of events, Moore went without a catch until the final drive of the fourth quarter. Fortunately, the 23-year-old still saw six targets, second on the team to only fellow wideout Robby Anderson. There should be better days ahead for Moore, as he had compiled at least 93 receiving yards in three straight contests coming into this one. He'll get a Week 9 matchup against Kansas City in what could turn out to be a high-scoring affair.

From RotoBaller

Mike Davis Oct 30 12:00am ET

Carolina Panthers running back Mike Davis carried the ball 13 times for 66 rushing yards and caught one of two targets for 11 receiving yards in a loss to the Falcons. The 27-year-old disappointed in likely his last ride as the Panthers' lead back, as Christian McCaffrey (ankle) is expected to return in Week 9 against Kansas City. Davis was a PPR machine in McCaffrey's absence, with at least six targets in four games as the starter. He was so impressive at times that it's possible he earned himself a bigger role, though it likely won't amount to much with McCaffrey around to gobble up the majority of the touches. Keep Davis rostered until we find out McCaffrey is back for sure.

From RotoBaller

Russell Gage Oct 30 12:00am ET

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage finished Thursday's win with two receptions for 25 yards on three targets. Gage continued to show his inconsistency on Thursday after coming into the game having gotten at least 54 yards in the past two contests. The WR is definitely streaky, which makes him a risky play most weeks. An ankle injury suffered by fellow wideout Calvin Ridley is worth monitoring. If Ridley cannot play next Sunday, Gage's value will surely go up, but it would still be hard to trust him for good production given his lackluster numbers this season.

From RotoBaller

Robby Anderson Oct 30 12:00am ET

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson hauled in five of eight targets for 48 receiving yards in a 25-17 loss to the Falcons. It could have been a bigger day for the former Jet, as he nearly made a one-handed touchdown grab on a throw from backup P.J. Walker, who came in relief of Teddy Bridgewater for one series. It certainly didn't help Anderson that Bridgewater was under constant pressure the whole night. However, his fantasy managers can take solace in the fact that he's now seen at least eight targets in six of eight contests this season. That sort of volume should keep him in the WR2 mix next week, even in a tough matchup against Kansas City.

From RotoBaller

Julio Jones Oct 29 11:50pm ET

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones had seven receptions for 137 yards on 10 targets in the Week 8 win over Carolina. For the past three weeks, the WR has been playing at a tremendous level and has gotten at least seven receptions, nine targets, and 97 yards the past three games. His volume keeps him in the WR1 tier each week.

From RotoBaller

Teddy Bridgewater Oct 29 11:50pm ET

Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater completed 15 of 23 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown along with 30 yards rushing on five attempts in a 25-17 loss to Atlanta. Bridgewater left the game after taking a nasty hit in the third quarter, but he was able to return after making it through the league's concussion protocol. The 27-year-old made some nice throws when he was given time, including a beautiful deep ball to Curtis Samuel on a flea-flicker. Unfortunately, he was constantly under pressure, as he was sacked twice and hit six times by the Falcons Defense. A bounce-back could be in the cards next week- Carolina may need to rely on Bridgewater's arm in Week 9 against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

From RotoBaller

Calvin Ridley Oct 29 11:50pm ET

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley finished with three receptions for 42 yards on four targets in Week 8. The WR went down with an ankle injury in the first half of the game and didn't return. Managers will now have to monitor the status of the WR heading into the Week 9 clash against the Broncos.

From RotoBaller

Hayden Hurst Oct 29 11:50pm ET

Atlanta Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst finished with five receptions for 54 yards on seven targets in the Week 8 win over Carolina. Hurst has now seen seven targets in the past two games and has gotten at least 50 yards in four of the past five games. The TE has a decent role in this offense and the latest numbers are backing that up. Hurst should be considered a low-end TE1 each week given his consistency.

From RotoBaller

Brian Hill Oct 29 11:40pm ET

Atlanta Falcons running back Brian Hill finished with 11 carries for 55 yards and two receptions for nine yards on Thursday. It was the RB2 of the team who surprisingly led in rush yards, but this was a rare occurrence. Hill doesn't see enough weekly touches to merit good fantasy value going forward.

From RotoBaller

Todd Gurley Oct 29 11:40pm ET

Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley II finished Thursday night's win with 18 carries for 46 yards and a score. The back still had a decent night despite Brian Hill getting more rushing yards total. Gurley has now had at least 18 carries in the past three games and has three rushing touchdowns in the past two games. With a steady number of carries each week, the RB should remain in the low-end RB1/high-end RB2 tier every week.

From RotoBaller

Matt Ryan Oct 29 11:30pm ET

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan went 21-for-30 and gained 281 yards and one interception in the Thursday night win over the Panthers. It was a rainy game and many players were clearly affected by the conditions. Ryan finished with an average night, which he has sometimes had this season. With a high-powered offense, the QB should remain in the starting tier most weeks, but is most effective in favorable matchups.

From RotoBaller

Teddy Bridgewater Oct 29 10:40pm ET

Teddy Bridgewater, after being tripped while trying to scramble, took a shot to the head as he fell to the ground against the Falcons. Obviously, the first concern after a hit to the head is a concussion. Bridgewater's head abruptly twisted to the side and he went into the tent shortly thereafter. The Panthers' backup tonight is XFL sweetheart, P.J. Walker.

From RotoBaller

Calvin Ridley Oct 29 10:10pm ET

Calvin Ridley has been ruled out for the Falcons' Week 8 game against the Panthers. He was tackled by a defender and his left foot got caught under the defender. Ridley immediately grabbed his left foot and went to the locker room. His status for Week 9 will now be in question.

From RotoBaller

La'Mical Perine Oct 29 9:50pm ET

New York Jets running back La'Mical Perine has been buried on the depth chart for most of the season. However, head coach Adam Gase mentioned last week that he wants to get Perine more involved. Perine was on the field for 70 percent of the offensive snaps during the Week 7 loss to the Buffalo Bills. He saw 11 carries for 40 yards and a touchdown in the loss. He'll get a decent matchup here against the Kansas City Chiefs who are average against the run this season. Perine could be worth looking at as a desperation option for owners in need of a running back.

From RotoBaller

Jamison Crowder Oct 29 9:50pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder (groin) was able to go through limited practice on Thursday. That is actually an upgrade since Crowder sat out of practice the day prior. Crowder has been basically the only bright spot for this team all season long. His absence would doom the Jets chances of doing anything at all on offense versus the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 8. Crowder has seen 10 or more targets in each game that he has played in this season. He'll be a reliable WR2, assuming he suits up here.

From RotoBaller

Frank Gore Oct 29 9:40pm ET

New York Jets running back Frank Gore has seen a significant role in the backfield this season. The departure of Le'Veon Bell has opened up lead back duties for Gore over the last few weeks. Sadly, the Jets offensive line and team as a whole is horrible this season. Gore has done what he can, but will likely see his role decrease going forward. Head coach Adam Gase wants to see La'Mical Perine more involved in the offense. That means, Gore is going to be a tough option to trust versus the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 8.

From RotoBaller