Kickoff: Sunday, 3:15 CT
Television: FOX – Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, and Pam Oliver
Series: 55th meeting. Bears lead overall series 32-20-2, which includes seven postseason meetings – the last one a 31-3 Giants victory in a divisional playoff game in 1990.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Giants QB Eli Manning has endured a rough week after his four-interception meltdown against Minnesota and must prove he can bounce back to lead this team. He should be helped by the return of RB Brandon Jacobs to give the Bears' fledgling run defense a power threat to worry about. The Bears, who are third in the NFL with 32 sacks, would love nothing more than to put the heat on Manning and see if they can get him throwing off his back foot again and take advantage with critical turnovers. ... Third-down RB Adrian Peterson takes over for the injured Cedric Benson, and while solid, he doesn't possess game-changing skills. That means the game likely falls on the arm of QB Rex Grossman. However, the Giants lead the league with 38 sacks, and OT Fred Miller might not play after struggling the past few weeks on sore ankles. If Grossman has the time, the Giants' weakness is in coverage.
Giants: LB Antonio Pierce (ankle sprain) is expected to practice by late week and play; Jacobs (hamstring) hopes to return after missing a game, while backup Derrick Ward (ankle/groin) should be available.
Jacobs has at least 100 yards from scrimmage in four straight games. ... The Bears have mounted fourth-quarter comebacks in four of their five wins.
OT John St. Clair
Marc Duncan/AP Images
Bears: Vasher (groin) practiced on a limited basis for the second straight day Thursday, and barring any setbacks Friday is expected to see some playing time on Sunday for the first time since Week 3. ... Miller (ankle) did not practice at all for the second straight day Thursday and appears doubtful for Sunday's game. ... St. Clair, who has started five times since joining the Bears in 2005, will start at right tackle Sunday against the Giants' Michael Strahan if, as expected, Miller does not play. ... DT Tommie Harris (knee) returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis after missing Wednesday's workout and is expected to play on Sunday. ... LB Lance Briggs (hamstring) was back at practice Thursday on a limited basis and should play Sunday. ... WR Devin Hester (foot) returned to practice Thursday after a one-day absence and is expected to play Sunday.
Giants: Pierce (sprained ankle) missed practice Wednesday and Thursday but insists he'll play Sunday in Chicago. He also criticized the NFL and the media for "blaming" NFL players when they have a gun in their household. "It's always our fault," he said, "and whatever happens, it's still our fault." He was being asked about the tragic murder of Redskins safety Sean Taylor, but was slightly mistaken – Taylor didn't have a gun in his house, it was a machete. ... TE Jeremy Shockey and WR Sinorice Moss were teammates of Taylor's at the University of Miami, and both indicated that his "wild days" had ended when he became a father of a now two-year-old daughter. "He had turned his life around," said Moss. "It is such a terrible shame." ... P Jeff Feagles on the threat of Bears return phenom Hester: "He's the best I've seen at returning kicks, and hell no, I do not intend to punt to him. If I had to compare him to somebody, I'd pick Deion [Sanders]. It's easier for me than for [kicker] Lawrence [Tynes]. I often kick out of bounds for positional reasons. When he does, it's a penalty and they get the ball on their 40-yard line." ... The Giants have four players from the University of Miami (Feagles, Shockey, Moss and DT William Joseph who is on the injured reserve list); the Bears have three (Hester, rookie TE Greg Olsen, and LB Darrell McClover). ... WR David Tyree, who made it to the Pro Bowl as a special teams player in 2005, offered this on Hester: "You have to flat-out say that the guy is the best now and close to the best ever. I love a challenge, but you have to be smart. He's not a guy you kick to all game."
Bears 20, Giants 19.
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