The 26Shirts Game Preview: Week Two

| September 18th, 2020

The current shirt from 26Shirts is my concept and design and you can see it over on the right rail (or down below on mobile). Proceeds going to great cause. You can read all about that, and place your order, by CLICKING HERE. It ain’t just tee shirts, either. The hoodies, light and sweatshirt-style, are both very cool.

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears, despite this Allen Robinson situation.

Would I like to see Robinson in Chicago long-term? Of course. Would I be rushing to give him $20 million a year without knowing who my quarterback is in 2021? Nope. No I would not.

Nevertheless, Robinson’s case is only supported by positive play and that’s what I would expect moving forward.

Breaking Down the New York Giants


  • Everything with this offense feeds off the running game and Saquon Barkley. If the Giants are getting four or five yards a carry with their star running back it opens up their entire playbook and makes them a very difficult group to defend.
  • If the run game isn’t working for the Giants, they’ll try to compensate for deficiencies at the offensive tackle spots with quick, mid-range slants to Sterling Shepard or by mismatching their tight ends on opposing linebackers and safeties. This is a difficult way to move the ball because it requires 10-12 plays, mistake free, for points.
  • Darius Slayton is the deep threat and the Giants will take their shots if Daniel Jones is given consistent time in the pocket. Eddie Jackson can’t let Slayton get over the top.
  • Pressure, of course, is always key, but specifically against Jones. When Jones is drop-and-toss he’s strong-armed and accurate. When he sits deep for an extra second or two (and often pump fakes) he gives defensive backs opportunities to make plays on the ball. He’s also one of the game’s more prolific fumblers.
  • If you blitz Jones, you better have eyes on Barkley. He’s a home run waiting to happen on every screen. And Barkley is one of the worst blocking backs in the sport so his only viability in the passing game is in space.


  • This is not a particularly talented group but they compensate with (a) hustle and (b) disguise. If their opener is any indication, they’ll keep Trubisky guessing right up until the snap.
  • Two players to account for on this defense: Lorenzo Carter and Blake Martinez. They are the engine.
  • The Bears will once again be seeing an underwhelming collection of corners. James Bradberry can play but Corey Ballentine and Darnay Holmes are liabilities with the ball in the air. Trubisky can’t be afraid to give his receivers opportunities to make plays. If he’s waiting for Robinson and Miller and Mooney to get open in space, he’s waiting too long.

Five Favorite Things About New Jersey

The Giants don’t play in New York. They don’t practice in New York. They do both of those things in New Jersey, my home state. What do I love about the place?

(5) The Attitude

There is a confidence to most attitude. Boston. Brooklyn. Chicago. Texas. Each has a distinct attitude, rooted in the belief that their place is the place. Nobody in Jersey thinks that. To quote the great John Gorka lyric, “I’m from New Jersey. I don’t expect too much. If the world ended today, I would adjust.” Nobody I know is either proud or ashamed to be from Jersey. It’s just where we’re from. And we don’t give a fuck what you think about that.


(4) Tom Scharpling

One of the more unique comic voices on the planet comes from our absurdly-named Garden State. (There’s no reason for it not to be called The Diner State and if I became governor it would be my first move.) Tom is the creator and host of The Best Show, an indescribable comic masterpiece of a radio show/podcast that has seemingly become the soundtrack of every long train ride and flight in my life. (You know, back when those things existed.) He goes on extended rants about bands I’ve never heard of, executes perfectly-scripted phone sketches with Jon Wurster and has now transitioned appearances with the show’s best guest, Julie Klausner, into a separate podcast, Double Threat. Bruce Springsteen joked, after getting into the New Jersey Hall of Fame, that he didn’t even know New Jersey had a of Hall of Fame. We do. And Tom is a first ballot guy.

Here’s a good entryway into the mind of the man.


(3) Pork Roll / Taylor Ham

It is the patron meat of New Jersey. It is made in a factory in Trenton that you can’t get into because it’s guarded by men with guns. Nobody knows for sure what’s in it.


(2) Asbury Park to Point Pleasant Beach

My favorite stretch of land in the United States perfectly encapsulates the state.

Asbury has the cool factor. The Stony Pony. Asbury Lanes. It’s what Hoboken used to be before Wall Street moved in.

As you head south, the bars take over. CJ’s in Spring Lake Heights. Vic’s in Bradley Beach. (The pizza!) The Boathouse. Parker House. Rod’s. Columns.

And the boardwalk at Point Pleasant is my childhood. Mini golf. Skeeball. Spreading a few quarters on the wheel to win an over-sized Swedish Fish. The tiki bar at Martell’s stretching right out over the ocean.

This was the first summer of my life I didn’t go down. And I missed it every day.


(1) Rutt’s Hut

The greatest hot dog in the entire world. And a bar, still serving dollar mugs of Coors, that makes me long for home.

Favorable Match-Up of the Week

Jabril Peppers is 5’11” and while he still has burst as a return man, he plays much slower than that in coverage.

Jimmy Graham is 6’7″ and showed in Week One that he’s still more than capable of getting separation from defensive backs.

This is the match-up Nagy must scheme and – more importantly – Trubisky must recognize when it presents itself. If both do, Graham will have a big afternoon on the lakefront.

Worth the Gamble

Last week I gave you four potential bets. Neither team gets to 25 points (+120), Total points/Even (+106), First Scoring Play, Lions field goal (+320) and Bears field goal (+390). If you wagered $10 on each, $40 total, you’d have come out of Bears/Lions more than $20 to the positive. Not a bad opener.

So let’s take our winnings and roll them. $20 on the Bears laying 5.5 and over 42.5 points will yield a $67 windfall. That’s where I’m playing.

The “Pressure” Haiku

Mister Robinson,

You want twenty mil per year?

Get in the end zone.

Game Prediction

Does this game being in Chicago mean anything? Does Trubisky’s fourth quarter mean anything? Does these two teams having played in 2019 mean anything? Yes. Yes. Yes. Bears win this game at the skill spots outside, and Robert Quinn’s presence gets Khalil Mack on the stat sheet with two sacks and a forced fumble.

Chicago Bears, 27, New York Giants 20

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