Goal To Go: Inside Bears-Giants

The Bears are the biggest dogs on the board this week. For them to pull off an upset on the road, John Tait and the rest of the o-line is going to have to give Craig Krenzel time to throw.

Bears (2-5) at N.Y. Giants (5-2)
3:15 p.m. today, FOX (Ch. 32)

John Tait, Bears RT vs. Michael Strahan, Giants LE
The job won't be easy, but Tait was given $33 million in the offseason to protect Rex Grossman. Even though it's Craig Krenzel behind center now, the task is still the same. It's only Krenzel's second start and the rookie needs all the help he can get.

The all-time active sacks leader (117) and single-season holder (22 1/2) will be in hot pursuit of Krenzel. Strahan has three sacks this season. A rookie QB is just what the defense ordered.

While Tait has never faced Strahan, he has already gone up against Jevon Kearse earlier this season and more than held his own.

"Strahan has a lot of power moves and he's very strong. I think he's much stronger is much stronger than Jevon Kearse, where Kearse probably relies a little bit more on his speed," Tait said.

Tiki Barber, Giants RB vs. Brian Urlacher, Bears MLB
Barber is No. 1 in the league with 1,100 total yards from scrimmage, and the Giants running game -- thanks to Tiki -- is sixth in the NFL. Kurt Warner has been a pleasant surprise at QB, but Barber is the one making the offense go.

A breakout game of two sacks, five tackles and one assist in a win over 49ers earned defensive player of the week honors. Urlacher needs to be on top of his game again today. Barber is as dangerous a receiver as he is a running back.

"He's a tough guy for his size also, he can run in between the tackles I think as well as he can outside," Lovie Smith said. "So he's got the complete package and it'll be a good test for us.

"Going into the season we all knew that Tiki Barber was a good player, but I think a group that we should give a lot of praise to for how they've played is there offensive line. They've really opened up some holes for him and the offensive line I think is playing real good considering how they had to patch it back together this year."

KEYS TO THE GAME
Krenzel must be careful against a defense that has forced an NFL-high 18 turnovers. Chicago will rely heavily on its running game, which is likely to feature RB Anthony Thomas with starter Thomas Jones battling a sprained foot. But the Giants will try to stifle Thomas and put the onus on Krenzel to lead the offense.

Offensively, the Giants have done a good job protecting the ball with just six turnovers and don't want to do the Bears any favors. QB Kurt Warner has thrown just two interceptions while relying on the short and mid-range passing game.

2004 RANKINGS
Bears: offense 29th (14th rush, 31st pass); defense 11th (26th rush, 8th pass).

Giants: offense 12th (7th rush, 18th pass); defense 12th (22nd rush, 13th pass)

FAST FACTS
Bears: Defense has not allowed a first-quarter touchdown this season.

Giants: The Giants have combined to outscore their opponents in each quarter this season. ... Barber needs one 100-yard rushing game to tie Joe Morris (19) for the most in franchise history.

Injury report
Bears: OUT: CB Charles Tillman (knee). DOUBTFUL: S Bobby Gray (groin); RB Thomas Jones (toe). QUESTIONABLE; DE Adewale Ogunleye (lower leg); G Mike Gandy (hamstring). PROBABLE: CB Todd McMillon (back).

Giants: OUT: Shaun O'Hara (leg infection); DOUBTFUL: LB Barrett Green (ankle/knee). QUESTIONABLE: LB Carlos Emmons (Hip Flexor).

The series
The Chicago Bears and New York Giants have met 52 times -- regular season and playoffs -- in their long history, but only 18 of those games have been played since 1949. Today's game will be just the second between the teams since 1995. Chicago leads the all-time series by 10 games, posting a 30-20-2 record since the teams first met on Dec. 6, 1925, with a 12-point Bears win at the Polo Grounds in New York.

Streakers
New York has won three of the last four meetings with Chicago dating back to 1992. The Bears lone win during that span was their last game at Giants Stadium, a three-point victory in 1995. Chicago also posted a three-point win at the Giants current home stadium in 1977, making the Bears undefeated in two regular-season games at Giants Stadium. Overall, Chicago has won eight of the last 12 regular season meetings between the two teams dating back to 1965.


Bear Report Top Stories