The Giants won their fifth straight game by defeating Chicago 22-16 on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, raising the team’s record to 7-3 and bolstering fans’ postseason aspirations. Let’s face it, if the Giants don’t reach the playoffs, it would be a colossal disappointment. Then again, they haven’t won any of their games by more than a touchdown, including Sunday's nail-biter over the Bears, so how good are they really?
Before we start setting aside all our Sundays in January to watch Giants playoff games, we need to assess the team's current status with a gimlet eye. There were a lot of pros and cons to take away from this Bears victory, so let’s break them down.
On One Hand: For the first time in 18 games, the Giants did not turn the ball over.
On the Other Hand: The Bears dropped at least two surefire interceptions from Eli Manning, including one late in the fourth quarter when the Giants were clinging to a six-point lead and Manning hesitated before trying to hit Rashad Jennings in the flat -- a pass that was bobbled by Jennings and then dropped by the Bears defender. Manning cannot keep making those late-game, mental mistakes.
On One Hand: Rashad Jennings surpassed more than 85 yards rushing for the second straight game.
On the Other Hand: In the fourth quarter, as the team was trying to salt away the victory, Jennings had eight carries for a putrid 22 yards.
On One Hand: Ben McAdoo spoke all week about how the Giants would continue to be aggressive, and indeed the team converted a huge 4th-and-2 in the first half as Manning connected with Sterling Shepard, which led to a Jennings touchdown run.
On the Other Hand: McAdoo’s play calling in the second half was anything but aggressive. He continually dialed up Jennings for fruitless dives, and in the fourth quarter the team went three-and-out three times.
On One Hand: Shepard caught a touchdown pass for the second straight game.
On the Other Hand: Odell Beckham (five receptions, 46 yards) seemed less than pleased that he had not been overly involved in the offense (or maybe he was still miffed that he lost a $25,000 pinky ring at a strip club).
On One Hand: Dwayne Harris had a great kickoff return to open the second half.
On the Other Hand: His muffed punt in the fourth quarter almost cost the team the game.
On One Hand: Robbie Gould missed two of his three extra-point attempts in windy conditions.
On the Other Hand: Gould had good company in his ineptitude, as kickers missed 12 PATs Sunday across the league.
On One Hand: Landon Collins had an interception for the fourth straight game, his pick of Jay Cutler sealing the victory.
On the Other Hand: The defense allowed two passes of more than 30 yards and four passes of more than 20 yards to a Bears offense that is among the league's worst.
On One Hand: Jason Pierre-Paul had his best game of the year, recording 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble and four solo tackles.
On the Other Hand: He won’t be playing against a banged up Bears offensive line each week.
On One Hand: Olivier Vernon had one sack and the key pressure that led to Cutler’s game-ending interception.
On the Other Hand: We don’t want to spoil ourselves thinking of how well Vernon and Pierre-Paul are starting to play together.
On One Hand: Eli Manning was not sacked in the game.
On the Other Hand: He probably should have taken a sack or two on throws that could easily have been picked off.
On One Hand: The Giants came back from being down 16-6.
On the Other Hand: It’s pretty bad to let an undermanned Bears offense score on its first three possessions on the road.
On One Hand: The Giants are winning.
On the Other Hand: How long can they expect the defense to keep bailing them out?