The Giants could get shut out Sunday.
The Chicago Bears (5-10) aren’t a good team, but that’s besides the point.
The Giants are starting the recently benched Mike Glennon at quarterback, with Matt Skura at center and Kenny Golladay leading a skeleton squad at receiver.
Saquon Barkley is a shell of himself, and Chicago forecasts show a high temperature of 26 degrees, winds gusting up to 18 miles per hour, and morning snow showers with maybe six inches already on the ground.
The Giants (4-11) have scored four offensive touchdowns in the last four games. Three of them came in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter in blowout losses against a sagging defense.
The Bears’ Matt Nagy is expected to be fired at season’s end, but that doesn’t mean his defense doesn’t have one more Soldier Field shutout in them to send him off right.
“With it being two games left, I even said to some of the guys, ‘Let’s just go out there and put good stuff on tape,’” Golladay said this week. “I think that’s all you can really ask for right now. I know that’s what I try to do at least.”
Trying and doing are two different things for the Giants offense, though, as they learned in last week’s painful 34-10 loss in Philadelphia.
Jake Fromm is not starting this week. That’s the good news. But the bad news is Golladay, the expensive free agent signing, doesn’t have a single touchdown this season.
First-round pick Kadarius Toney hurts a different body part almost every time he steps on the field and hasn’t scored, either. He’s out with a shoulder.
Even when play-caller Freddie Kitchens dials up simple, basic calls, the run is stopped short, the passes are off target, or they’re dropped, or the offensive line caves in. The passing plays are downright grotesque.
“We try to put guys in position to make plays,” Kitchens said this week. “Their job is to make the plays. Our job is to put them in a position to make the plays. Everybody involved can do a better job of that.”
The Giants haven’t been shut out since Eli Manning was their quarterback. They lost 17-0 to the Tennessee Titans in the driving rain at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 16, 2018, in Pat Shurmur’s first season as head coach.
Glennon was so bad going 0-3 as a starter after Daniel Jones’ neck injury that Joe Judge benched him for Fromm. Fromm promptly threw for 25 total yards before being benched for Glennon in last week’s third quarter in Philly.
Now the Giants must face a Bears defense led by Robert Quinn, who ranks second in the NFL with 17 sacks.
Chicago defensive tackle Akiem Hicks should feast if he’s active. Safeties Tashaun Gipson and Eddie Jackson pack a punch in the back. And this could be a revenge game for Bears linebacker Alec Ogletree, though it’s unclear who would be looking for vengeance more, Ogletree or the Giants.
The Giants at least hope they can harness some personal revenge energy from Glennon, 32, who was once spurned by the Bears.
Chicago GM Ryan Pace signed Glennon in the 2017 offseason to a three-year, $45 million contract with $18.5 million in free agency, seemingly to be their starting QB.
But then Pace traded up to draft Mitchell Trubisky No. 2 overall later that spring, and Glennon played only four games for the Bears, going 1-3. That would start a stretch of playing for five teams in five years: the Bears, Cardinals, Raiders, Jaguars and Giants.
Barkley also is returning to the scene of his torn right ACL from Week 2 of last season, but the Giants’ running back said he had no extra motivation because Soldier Field is the scene of the crime.
“No, I’m not thinking like, ‘I hate the field,’ Barkley said this week. “I’m excited that I’m healthy enough to be able to go out there and be able to play another game. You never know when these opportunities are going to be taken away from you.”
Still, Barkley knows the deal: this offensive line is so thin that the Giants are holding a workout next Tuesday to possibly sign some reinforcements for their season finale at home against Washington next Sunday.
Take out the three garbage time touchdowns, and the Giants offense has scored 25 total points in the last four weeks. Total they were held to nine in Miami, six at home by Dallas, and 10 in Philly.
At least GM Dave Gettleman is on his way out, and Jones is expected to get healthy, and those developments should help the big picture.
But that won’t help the Giants’ offense score points on Sunday.
Frankly, it’s unclear what will.
The Giants activated S Julian Love off the COVID list to play in his home state and also activated several players off the practice squad in standard COVID replacement elevations: WR/CB Alex Bachman, WR Pharoh Cooper, WR David Sills, OT Derrick Kelly, DT David Moa and DT Woodrow Hamilton.
Source: Berkshire mont