Following an improbable come back against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, the Bears will flip their focus to the New York Giants in Week 2.
The Giants lost their season opener, 26-16, to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. It was the beginning of a new era for the Giants, with rookie head coach Joe Judge taking the helm.
Here are three things to know about the Giants heading into Week 2.
The Giants offensive line needs work
The Giants tried, and failed, again and again to get running back Saquon Barkley moving. Barkley finished the season opener with six (yes, six!) yards rushing on 15 attempts.
And it was not his fault.
Many times on Monday night, the Steelers hit Barkley as soon as he had the ball in his hands. Barkley remains dangerous. When he did find open space on one reception (he had six catches for 60 yards) he hurdled over Steelers cornerback Mike Hilton for one of the niftiest highlights of the night.
The Giants problems on the line are fixable. Often, they were leaving defenders unblocked, with free reign on Barkley and quarterback Daniel Jones. That indicates they were reading the defense wrong, or their communication was off. Again, those are fixable problems. Luckily, for the Bears, the Giants have only one week to iron out the problems.
The Bears pass rush was uninspiring for stretches of Sunday’s win over Detroit. Against a hapless offensive line, they will need that to change.
WR Darius Slayton could be in for a big year
Second-year Giants receiver Darius Slayton carved up the Steelers defense to the tune of six catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns. His first touchdown was a 41-yard deep pass from Jones down the middle of the field. He caught a second one on a 7-yard pass late in the game.
It was Slayton’s third 100-yard receiving game of his career, and his fourth two-touchdown effort. The Giants are hoping the former fifth-round draft pick can emerge as a consistent threat. If he does, it will make it that much harder for defenses to key in solely on Barkley.
This should be a bigger test for the Bears secondary than Detroit, who played without top receiver Kenny Golladay in Week 1. In 2019, Slayton caught four passes for 67 yards against the Bears during a Nov. 24 matchup at Soldier Field.
A familiar face
The Bears had hoped to be rid of linebacker Blake Martinez when he opted to leave the Green Bay Packers in free agency. Martinez was a menace in two games against the Bears last season.
He signed a three-year, $30 million contract with the Giants, and the Bears will have to deal with him again this week – albeit only once this season.
Martinez was the highest-graded player for the Giants in Week 1, according to Pro Football Focus’ weekly grades. He contributed to a team-leading 13 tackles Monday night. He led the Packers with 11 total tackles the last time the Bears saw him on Dec. 15 at Lambeau Field.