Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman has made it very clear this week that his team isn't paying attention to win/loss columns at this point in the season.
"Records aren't even an issue," Trestman said today. "Records don't mean anything. They just don't."
Coming off two straight losses, Chicago now sits at 3-2 but have the relative fortune of playing the New York Giants this week, a team that has yet to win a game this season. Yet with Eli Manning still in charge, he of two Super Bowl championships since 2007, the Bears won't be taking the Giants lightly.
"When I look at the Giants I see players who have been to the top. I see a quarterback who's going to the Hall of Fame. And he's not going away. I mean, he's going to be there for 60 minutes. He's proven that," said Trestman. "I know the kind of player he can be. And he could certainly show up very easily on Thursday night.
"That's number one. The guy playing the quarterback position for the New York Giants has been there and had his back against the wall and done it. We've all seen it. And because of it, he's a future Hall of Famer. So that alone is enough to keep our eye on the ball."
The Giants have a depleted offensive line, one that recently lost Pro Bowl guard Chris Snee for the season. The lack of protection up front has led to a lot of hurried throws by Manning, resulting in 12 interceptions through five games, which leads the league. This could play right into the hands of Chicago's defense, which is second in the league in takeaways (14).
"We respect the Giants but we have our own football to take care of," Trestman said. "We've got to be concerned on Thursday night with taking care of the football and continue to try and be an aggressive team to try and take it away. Our concern isn't what they've been doing, it's our continuous work to just try to get better and focusing on making sure for those three hours that we understand how important that football is to protect it, and continue to have a sense of urgency to go get it. It's not really based on what they've done or what they've been doing, because they are perfectly capable of coming in here and creating turnovers and taking care of the football, just like we are."
The consensus around the team is that, even though the Giants appear to be pushovers, they could easily come to Soldier Field and pull off an upset that would drop the Bears to 3-3.
"When you look at their personnel, they've got playmakers all over the field," said defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. "They've got a future Hall of Fame quarterback that's got a couple of Super Bowls. Every week in the NFL it's a different challenge and these guys are no different. They have firepower. They have playmakers, and it's evident when you turn the tape on. So that's not an issue. I don't think records matter a whole heck of a lot on game day. So the preparation and the approach are the same."
In today's NFL, no game is a gimme – unless Peyton Manning is your quarterback – so the Bears will endure their third loss in a row if they underestimate the Giants this week.
"I mean we're all around the National Football League enough to know the last two weeks to realize that records don't really mean a lot right now," Trestman said. "There's a fluidity to the season and how teams play. And we've got to continue to try to get better and be at our best and take care of our business."
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his third season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.