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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
Yannick Ngakoue Oct 30 12:20pm ET

Minnesota Vikings linebacker Todd Davis is being placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list after testing positive on Friday. Davis is being quarantined but the Vikings Week 8 game against the Packers remains on schedule for this Sunday. It's more bad news for a Vikings Defense that has really fallen apart in 2020. They already traded defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to the Ravens and rank 22nd in the league with 13 sacks through seven weeks of the season. Fantasy-wise, Minnesota ranks 29th in the NFL in overall fantasy points, which means they should continue to sit on the waiver wire this weekend against the high-scoring Packers attack.

From RotoBaller

Braxton Berrios Oct 30 11:40am ET

New York Jets wide receiver Braxton Berrios could be headed towards a big game with the team banged up heading into their Week 8 matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs. Both Jamison Crowder (groin) and Breshad Perriman (head) are considered questionable for Sunday's matchup. That means, Berrios could be in line for the start and plenty of targets here. He saw seven targets against the Buffalo Bills last week, but hauled in four of them for 35 yards in the loss. Berrios could see a heavy volume of targets this week, but he still remains a desperation deep league option.

From RotoBaller

Chris Carson Oct 30 11:30am ET

The Seattle Seahawks plan to sign running back Alex Collins to their practice squad next week, according to sources. Collins flew in to Seattle on Thursday to start his COVID-19 testing. The 26-year-old was a fifth-round pick by the Seahawks in 2016, but he played just one season for them before landing with the Ravens for two years. He hasn't played in an NFL game since 2018 with Baltimore, however, when he was released following a car accident. Collins averaged just 3.6 yards per carry in his final season with the Ravens and lost his job at the time to Gus Edwards. Seattle is hurting at the position with Chris Carson, Carlos Hyde and Travis Homer all banged up, so Collins will provide some much-needed depth. He can be ignored for fantasy purposes for now.

From RotoBaller

Denzel Mims Oct 30 11:30am ET

New York Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims made his NFL debut against the Buffalo Bills in Week 7. He finished with four receptions on seven targets for 42 yards in the loss. A decent outing for Mims, considering the Jets offensive unit is horrendous. It appears that the Jets want to get Mims heavily involved in the gameplan. His fantasy value is trending up with Jamison Crowder (groin) unlikely to suit up for the Week 8 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. Mims could make for an interesting PPR streaming option this week.

From RotoBaller

Calvin Ridley Oct 30 11:20am ET

X-rays on Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (ankle) came back negative after he was knocked out of the Thursday night win over the Panthers in the second quarter, according to sources informed of the situation. Ridley will undergo an MRI exam to determine if he can return in Week 9 against the Broncos, and the good news is that Atlanta will have extra rest before that contest next Sunday. However, with a bye coming in Week 10, it's possible that the team plays it safe and holds Ridley out. He had three catches for 42 yards before leaving on Thursday and has 43 receptions for 657 yards and six touchdowns in eight games this year. Whenever Ridley is ready to play again, he needs to be in all fantasy lineups.

From RotoBaller

Breshad Perriman Oct 30 11:20am ET

New York Jets wide receiver Breshad Perriman (head) entered the league's concussion protocol earlier this week. It's uncertain if Perriman will be cleared in time for the Week 8 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. He hauled in both of his targets for 27 yards last week versus the Buffalo Bills. Perriman has only finished with 30 receiving yards or more in a game once this season. The Jets offensive unit cannot be trusted besides Jamison Crowder. Fantasy owners should consider Perriman a desperation deep league option here.

From RotoBaller

Josh Allen Oct 30 11:20am ET

New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore (knee) tweaked his knee in practice on Thursday and underwent an MRI exam. His injury is considered to be minor, but his status for Week 8 against the Bills isn't clear. Losing the 30-year-old All-Pro shutdown cornerback would be a big loss this Sunday against the division-rival Bills and gunslinger quarterback Josh Allen. On the flip side, it would be a boost to the fantasy value of Bills No. 1 receiver Stefon Diggs, who would carry WR1 upside. The Patriots Defense is a streaming option for fantasy managers in a bind this week, but they certainly won't have as much upside if Gilmore cannot play.

From RotoBaller

Ben DiNucci Oct 30 11:10am ET

Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said that quarterback Andy Dalton (concussion) remains in the NFL's concussion protocol and that the team is preparing rookie Ben DiNucci to start in Week 8 against the Eagles. A final decision will be made on Saturday. "He's a confident young man. He has a lot of tools to work with," McCarthy said about DiNucci. Dalton is a long shot at this point to play against the division-rival Eagles, so DiNucci looks set to make his first career NFL start. He should be considered a desperation low-end QB2 for superflex leagues, while receivers Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup need to be downgraded even against Philly's shaky secondary. The Eagles Defense will be a strong streaming option Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Joe Mixon Oct 30 11:10am ET

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (foot) is missing practice again on Friday, making it likely that Giovani Bernard will be starting for the second straight week on Sunday against the Titans. Mixon didn't play in Week 7 and hasn't practiced at all this week, so things are looking grim for him suiting up this weekend. Bernard carried the ball a season-high 13 times for 37 yards in the Week 7 loss to the Browns, adding five catches for another 59 yards and his second touchdown of the season. He should see most of the backfield touches once again if Mixon is inactive, which will make him an RB2 against a Tennessee defense allowing the 10th-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.

From RotoBaller

Lamar Jackson Oct 30 11:00am ET

The Baltimore Ravens signed All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley to a five-year contract extension on Friday. It comes after the team recently signed cornerback Marlon Humphrey to a long-term deal, showing that they are committed to keeping their young talent on the roster for the long haul. Stanley has been a key asset for Baltimore's offensive line ever since he was taken sixth overall in the 2016 draft. The 26-year-old earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors in 2019. The deal is for $98.75 million and carries $70.9 million in guarantees and locks in Stanley as quarterback Lamar Jackson's blind-side protector for years to come.

From RotoBaller

Calvin Ridley Oct 30 8:33am ET

Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley (foot) had X-rays on his injured foot, which were negative. He'll have an MRI to determine his fate for the next few weeks.

Fantasy Spin: Ridley will have about 10 days to heal up before Week 9, and the team has a Week 10 bye. He has been one of the few bright spots on the struggling team and remains a WR1.

From TheHuddle

Julian Edelman Oct 30 8:33am ET

New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman (knee) is likely headed to the Reserve/Injured list after having surgery to clean up his knee.

Fantasy Spin: Ian Rapoport also went as far to say that Edelman's knee was a bone-on-bone situation, which spells doom for a football player. You can stash Edelman on an IR spot for now in hopes of getting something from him in the stretch run, but this was a grim report for a gritty player.

From TheHuddle

Curtis Samuel Oct 30 2:43am ET

Carolina Panthers WR Curtis Samuel caught four passes for 31 yards and a touchdown during the team's Week 8 game against the Atlanta Falcons. Samuel also carried the ball three times for 23 yards and a score.

Fantasy Spin: Samuel scored both of Carolina's touchdowns on Thursday night, one on a run up the middle and the other on a flea flicker. The fourth-year pro is a valuable do-it-all option for the Panthers offense, but gadget guys are tough to count on from one week to the next. Still, Samuel should be able to offer value as a flex most weeks.

From TheHuddle

Robby Anderson Oct 30 2:33am ET

Carolina Panthers WR Robby Anderson caught five passes for 48 yards against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday, Oct. 29. Anderson was targeted eight times.

Fantasy Spin: Anderson led the way in targets and receptions but most of his work was underneath as, outside of a 27-yard grab, his four catches covered just 21 yards. Atlanta simply refused to let Carolina's WRs get over the top and seemed to be a step ahead of the Panthers protection schemes all night long. Nobody delivers every week at the receiver position, but Anderson remains a steady WR2 going forward.

From TheHuddle

D.J. Moore Oct 30 2:23am ET

Carolina Panthers WR D.J. Moore caught two passes for 55 yards against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 8. He was targeted six times.

Fantasy Spin: Moore hauled in a 42-yard jump ball on Carolina's final drive to salvage a little respectability from a game where he was otherwise a complete nonfactor. You can blame some of it on the elements, but the offensive line didn't help matters either as Teddy Bridgewater seemed to be constantly under pressure. Keep Moore in your lineup in Week 9 and hope for a better performance.

From TheHuddle

Mike Davis Oct 30 2:13am ET

Carolina Panthers RB Mike Davis had 13 carries for 66 yards against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday, Oct. 29. Davis also caught one pass for 11 yards.

Fantasy Spin: Davis looked physical against the Falcons Thursday night in what's likely to be his last start since Christian McCaffrey is expected to return in Week 9. While that should be the end of Davis' immediate value he's proven to be a quality handcuff for all Run CMC owners. A disclaimer: don't drop Davis until it's confirmed that McCaffrey will play against the Chiefs. Setbacks happen.

From TheHuddle

Teddy Bridgewater Oct 30 1:53am ET

Carolina Panthers QB Teddy Bridgewater (neck) completed 15 of his 23 passes for 176 yards, a touchdown and an interception against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday, Oct. 29. He also ran five times for 30 yards.

Fantasy Spin: Even before exiting the game temporarily following a nasty hit to the head, Bridgewater wasn't getting much done, settling for a steady diet of shallow crossing routes amid surprising pressure from the Falcons. Entering the final drive he'd barely topped the century mark in passing yards and his final throw was a terrible interception that had zero chance to be completed. It'll be interesting to see if the offense adjusts significantly following the expected return of Christian McCaffrey in Week 9.

From TheHuddle

Brian Hill Oct 30 1:33am ET

Atlanta Falcons RB Brian Hill had 11 carries for 55 yards against the Carolina Panthers in Week 8. He also caught two passes for nine yards.

Fantasy Spin: Thursday represented the second time in three games that Hill has hit double digits in carries, and he's averaging a respectable 46 total yards per game over the last month. That's not enough to give him standalone value most weeks, but given Todd Gurley's workload and injury history Hill is certainly someone you could feel good about stashing on your bench.

From TheHuddle

Hayden Hurst Oct 30 1:23am ET

Atlanta Falcons TE Hayden Hurst logged five receptions (on seven targets) for 54 yards in a Week 8 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

Fantasy Spin: While he hasn't quite been the second coming of Austin Hooper, Hurst has topped 50 yards receiving in five of his first eight games with the Falcons and is becoming a fairly reliable contributor at a position that's severely lacking in that department. Consider him a decent TE1.

From TheHuddle

Calvin Ridley Oct 30 1:03am ET

Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley (ankle) had three receptions for 42 yards on Thursday, Oct. 29, against the Carolina Panthers before leaving the game with an ankle injury. He was targeted four times.

Fantasy Spin: After the game, head coach Raheem Morris had no official update on Ridley's condition but indicated he's hopeful that the extra few days of rest will be enough to get Ridley back on the field for Week 9. If Ridley can heal up in time he'll deserve a spot in your lineup as a WR1/WR2. If not, Russell Gage should inherit a larger role. Given the team is off in Week 10, make sure to have a contingency plan in case the Falcons decide Ridley is better off with an extra couple weeks off to recover.

From TheHuddle