The New York Giants don't have much time to prepare for their latest attempt at that elusive first victory of the season.
Looking to avoid their first 0-6 start in 37 years, the Giants hope to continue their success at Soldier Field and hand the Chicago Bears a third straight defeat Thursday night.
At 0-5 for the first time since the strike season of 1987, New York must quickly move on from Sunday's 36-21 loss to Philadelphia and focus on a 3-2 Chicago team that's looking to stop its own regression.
The Giants began the season fueled by the idea of possibly playing a Super Bowl on their home field, but now will focus only on winning a game.
New York has not dropped its first six since going 0-9 in 1976.
"For us, we're not even thinking about the playoffs now," linebacker Spencer Paysinger said. "Right now we are 0-5 and looking for our first win, hopefully coming on Thursday."
The Giants have won two straight against the Bears and their last four at Soldier Field, with the latest matchup in Chicago coming in 2007. Given the current state of the team, however, relying on past success in this series seem like it would hardly be enough.
New York is allowing a league-worst 36.4 points per contest, yielding at least 31 in all five games to tie an NFL record set by the 1954 Chicago Cardinals. The Giants rallied from a 19-7 halftime deficit to lead 21-19 late in the third quarter Sunday, then allowed 17 unanswered points.
Eli Manning threw three of his league-high 12 interceptions on consecutive series in the fourth quarter. The two-time Super Bowl MVP has thrown eight touchdowns but has completed 53.7 percent of his passes and been sacked 15 times.
"The guy is trying to play the best he can," coach Tom Coughlin said. "He's certainly trying to do too much. He knows his team and he knows his responsibility. He's an extremely accountable guy and he's going to do everything he possibly can. Sometimes it's not to be done that way."
While others outside the organization might be quick to blame Manning for the Giants' struggles, his teammates will not.
"It's everyone, the receivers, the offensive line. Everyone is to blame for some of these losses," said receiver Victor Cruz, who had five receptions for 48 yards Sunday after recording 10 for 164 and a TD in the 31-7 defeat at Kansas City a week earlier.
"It's pretty frustrating. We understand that one of these games has to turn for us."
The Giants won't have running back David Wilson this week, as he suffered a neck injury Sunday after running for 16 yards, six carries and his first touchdown.
New York, which averages a league-low 56.8 rushing yards, will go with a backfield combination of Brandon Jacobs, who ran 11 times for 37 yards against the Eagles, and the recently re-signed Da'Rel Scott.
Jacobs had 62 yards and a TD on just six carries in New York's 17-3 home win over the Bears in 2010. The Giants sacked Jay Cutler nine times in the first half and sent him to the bench with a concussion.
Cutler has been sacked nine times this season, but six have come in back-to-back losses to Detroit and New Orleans. He is completing a career-best 65.7 percent of his passes and threw for a season-high 358 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions Sunday, but Chicago lost 26-18 to the Saints.
With Brandon Marshall often double-teamed, Cutler connected 10 times with second-year receiver Alshon Jeffery, who had a team-record 218 receiving yards and one score.
Jeffery has 15 receptions for 325 yards with two touchdowns the last two weeks after catching 13 passes for 104 and no scores in the first three.
Marshall caught 15 balls for 217 yards and two TDs the first two games, but has 16 receptions for 161 yards and one touchdown in the past three. That's caused him to vent some frustration he claims stems from the team's current slide instead of his own recent lack of production.
The Bears have been outscored 50-20 in the first half of the last two contests.
"Sometimes the formula may go to me, sometimes it doesn't. Whatever's best for the team to win, that's what we need to do," said Marshall, who has a TD on Sunday but was held to season lows of four receptions and 30 yards. "I'm always going to be frustrated when our offense isn't No. 1 in the league. I'm always going to be frustrated when we're losing."
The Bears held New Orleans to a season-low 347 yards but failed to force a turnover for the first time in 11 games. Chicago is third in the league with 14 takeaways, while New York's 20 turnovers are the most in the NFL.
Manning is 2-1 against the Bears despite completing 53.9 percent of his passes with one TD and four picks.
Teammate Hakeem Nicks had nine receptions for 142 yards last week. He had eight for 110 against the Bears in 2010.
The Associated Press News Service
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