Nobody is a bigger fan of the Bears this week than Ben McAdoo. He’s a die-hard. And like all rabid supporters of specific teams, he’ll take issue with anyone who disagrees with him.
He has to in order to convince his real team — the Giants — not to overlook the Bears. So he’ll spend a lot of time talking about how “dangerous” their quarterback, Jay Cutler, can be. He’ll tout their defense, ranked 11th, as “pretty dang good.”
While there is no truth to the rumor that McAdoo has ordered all calendars in the Giants’ complex to be turned back to 1985, it’s still early in the week.
And if someone asks about the Bears’ 2-7 record? He’ll angrily tell them what to do with it, as he did Wednesday evening during his news conference. “They’re better than their record,” he said. “You can take that record and you can throw it out that window over there. It doesn’t matter.”
It almost sounded as if he wanted to throw the questioner out the same window, just to keep such thinking from entering his locker room.
“Every week you play pros in this league,” he said. “You have to be at your best, can’t exhale, can’t get complacent. It’s my job to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
McAdoo may have gotten some unintended help in his cause from Bears linebacker Pernell McPhee on Wednesday. McPhee, asked about the 12 sacks of Eli Manning this season, essentially guaranteed that he and his teammates would increase that number.
“We’re going to tear their (butt) up,” McPhee said. “I don’t care what everybody else did. We’re going to sack him. He can throw the ball however many times he wants. I’m going to make sure of that.”
That ought to focus some of the Giants’ attention if it was straying at all. At least on the offensive line. For the most part, though, the Giants are relying on their own discipline.
“You learn quickly in this league that if you don’t prepare for the upcoming game, you’re going to get embarrassed,” Manning said. “I don’t look at records, I look at Chicago’s defense and I see a good defense.”
All aboard the Bears bandwagon, it seems.
A victory Sunday would give the Giants their first five-game winning streak in the regular season since 2010. It would put them four games over .500 for the first time since October 2012. And it would be, for many Giants, their first time reaching seven wins in a season with the team. The Giants went 6-10 each of the last two years.
“It’s huge,” said linebacker Devon Kennard, one of the 43 active Giants who never have eclipsed the dirty half-dozen in the win column with the team. “I want the opportunity to get seven wins and I don’t want to wait for next week. I want that seventh win now.”
That sentiment, too, should have the Giants lasered in on preparing for the Bears.
Underneath all of the talk, though, is a growing sense of how special the Giants can be this season. They may be talking up the Bears, but they’re also looking around at themselves and starting to realize how far this season has the potential of going.
“It’s fun winning games and getting on win streaks and being in a situation where you feel like you’re playing good football,” Manning said. “These are exciting times when you know every game does count. They all count, but they count (now) toward a great shot at making the playoffs.”
McAdoo must balance all of that as he tries to scare his team into respecting the Bears. He’s the one who started the season talking about a fifth Lombardi trophy, the one who approved of Odell Beckham Jr. citing the Super Bowl as the ultimate goal for this team.
Can the team’s mind be on Feb. 5 in Houston and also be on Nov. 20 at MetLife Stadium?
“We’re all ambitious, that’s why we’re here,” McAdoo said. “But at the same point in time we’re not going to win the Super Bowl this week. We’re not going to do it today, we’re not going to do it tomorrow, we’re not going to do it on Sunday. We need to prepare our best this week for Chicago and get ready to go play a complete game.”
And after that, McAdoo will be the world’s biggest fan of the Cleveland Browns.