NFL Preseason Preview - Chicago (1-1) at N.Y. Giants (1-1)
By Scott Garbarini, NFL Editor
(Sports Network) - A pair of expected NFC contenders coming off strong performances continue their preparations for the upcoming 2012 season when the defending world champion New York Giants welcome the Chicago Bears to MetLife Stadium.
The Giants will be holding their first true home game since capturing last season's Lombardi Trophy with a hard-fought 21-17 victory over New England in Super Bowl XLVI, though Big Blue was in its familiar venue for last weekend's annual preseason encounter with the fellow Met Life Stadium-tenant Jets. The Giants looked very much like an elite outfit in that one, taking the latest battle of New York with a convincing 26-3 triumph over their crosstown rivals.
Excellent defense set the tone for last Saturday's rout, with the Giants sacking quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow a combined seven times while limiting the Jets to a meager 148 total yards on the night. The unit also came through with a touchdown when rookie cornerback Jayron Hosley intercepted a hurried Sanchez and returned the pick 77 yards late in the first half.
The Giants' offense wasn't quite as crisp, with Super Bowl XLVI Most Valuable Player Eli Manning going just 7-of-14 for 62 yards and tossing an interception before exiting at halftime.
New York will probably be without top receiver Hakeem Nicks once again, though the big-play wideout did resume practicing this week as he recovers from a broken foot sustained earlier in the summer. Will Beatty, the Giants' projected starter at left tackle, remains sidelined indefinitely with a lingering back issue, however, with veteran Sean Locklear filling in during the interim.
The Giants continue to be banged up on the defensive end as well. Tackles Chris Canty (knee), Shaun Rogers (blood clot in leg) and Marvin Austin (back) will all sit out another week, as will linebacker Michael Boley (hamstring) and cornerback Terrell Thomas (knee). Hosley joined the list of walking wounded when he left Saturday's win with a turf toe injury.
Chicago bounced back from a lopsided home loss to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in the opening week of the preseason to down Washington last Saturday at Soldier Field. The Bears wound up holding on for a 33-31 decision over the Redskins, but had built a comfortable 30-10 lead after three quarters before Washington rallied against the bottom members of the Chicago depth chart.
Starting quarterback Jay Cutler and understudy Jason Campbell both fared well in the win, with the pair combining for 263 yards on 16-of-28 passing. The Bears' offense also got good games out of a pair of rookies, with second-round wideout Alshon Jeffery coming up with three catches for 62 yards and fourth- round tight end Evan Rodriguez gaining 49 yards on his three grabs.
Offseason acquisition Brandon Marshall added 61 yards on two receptions for the Bears, who finished with 307 net passing yards as a team.
Chicago was hit with a few concerning injuries against the Redskins. Starting free safety Chris Conte will miss the rest of the preseason after dislocating his shoulder, while rookie backup Brandon Hardin was carted off the field with a neck problem in the third quarter and punter Adam Podlesh strained his left hip.
The Bears are already without defensive leader Brian Urlacher, with the decorated middle linebacker to be held out of the entire exhibition slate to build strength in his surgically repaired left knee.
Chicago owns a 15-7 advantage in its all-time preseason series with New York and had won three consecutive bouts in the set before being dealt a 41-13 loss at MetLife Stadium last August.
08/22 14:44:38 ET