The 0-1 New York Giants will travel to Chicago to face the 1-0 Bears this Sunday in a matchup that should be a better fit for them than the Steelers were in Week 1.
The Giants played the Bears not too long ago, last year in Week 12, with the Bears winning, 19-14. In that game, the Bears’ wide receivers had big games. Allen Robinson caught six of 10 targets for 131 yards and a touchdown. Anthony Miller added 77 yards on six receptions.
Last week the Giants’ secondary didn’t give up any big plays to the Steelers length-wise, but were soft in some areas. Rookie Darnay Holmes played the slot for the Giants and contained well but allowed five of six passes his way to be completed. This week, he’ll draw Miller, who just might tea this up.
Anthony Miller has the third-best matchup of the week, according to the wide receiver/cornerback matchup chart. He played 91% of his snaps in the slot, which lines him up against Darnay Holmes, who had 100% of his snaps in the slot. Holmes allowed five of six passes thrown his way to be caught for 56 yards. Miller led all slot receivers in yards per route run in the slot (3.8) among those with at least 18 slot routes. If there is any week to insert Miller into your starting lineup, this is it.
Giants’ head coach Joe Judge will rely on the tape of last year’s game even though many of the players the Giants will send out to cover the Bears this week weren’t on the team last year.
“I think the biggest thing that helps you from watching last year’s matchup is some of the similar players we have on the roster, and some of the ways they really looked to isolate and attack guys who are still on the roster. Schematically, there are some differences, obviously. You try to look at a lot in terms of coordinators, in terms of the experience you’ve had against them. Whether that’s going back to the Miami days with (Bill) Lazor, whether that’s going back and watching some of Pat’s (Graham) experience in Green Bay against the Bears, or maybe some of the old New England games, some of our defenses, how they attacked it, how they used it. Then offensively, how they attack both our personnel and then also maybe when Jason (Garrett) was at Dallas. You look at everything you can to gather as much knowledge and then try to form how you think they’re going to attack you and have a plan that fits that.”
Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham knows what Robinson is capable of and is wary of what he might do to his newly-formed secondary.
“I think what makes him special is his catch radius,” said Graham. “That’s one of those, I remember when I first heard that, I was like, ‘what in the world does that mean?’ His catch radius is pretty good. I think he’s competitive, he’s really really competitive. Whether it’s at the line of scrimmage or further down the field, getting open and away from defenders. The finish on the ball, he does a great job of tracking the ball and bringing it away from defenders’ hands and always ending up with the ball. Of course, when you have go-to guy like that, and obviously he’s a heavy target for the quarterback in terms of going to him. We have to adjust, whether it’s a matchup thing or just an awareness in coverage. You always have to adjust for those great players. Any time it’s a great player, I don’t know when you wouldn’t adjust or have some awareness of those guys. Sometimes the plan works out, sometimes it doesn’t. Any time you have a good player, one of those great players, you have to do something to adjust to it. Hopefully the plan works out.”