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ESTABLISH THE RUN

This isn’t complicated. The Giants boast the NFL’s fourth-best rushing attack (157.2 yards per game). And their offensive line and receiving corps are decimated by injuries. The Cowboys’ Achilles heel is their run defense, seventh worst in the NFL (136.1 yards per game). That includes 240 for the Bears in Week 8 and 207 for the Packers in Week 10.

The Giants’ only chance on Thanksgiving Day is to use both Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley as runners to control the pace of the game.

START FAST, PROTECT THE BALL

The Cowboys are the only NFL team that still has not allowed a first quarter touchdown this season. Opponents’ 18 first quarter points this season are the fewest in the league. The Giants are notoriously slow starters on offense, with only 36 first quarter points this season. They’re also coming off a three-turnover loss to the Detroit Lions. And the Cowboys have a plus-7 turnover differential on the season compared to the Giants’ plus-1. Scoring early, and protecting the ball, are imperative. The Giants’ margin for error is razor thin.

RUSH THE PASSER

The only way to protect Wink Martindale’s banged-up secondary is to pressure Cowboys QB Dak Prescott. That means they need a dramatic improvement from Sunday’s loss to the Lions when they pressured Detroit QB Jared Goff on only three of his 26 dropbacks. Now is the time for rookie edge Kayvon Thibodeaux to make his presence felt on the big stage when the Giants need him most. He hasn’t made an impact recently.

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Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers: Everything you need to know about the Week 13 game

The 3-9 Chicago Bears will play the 4-8 Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field in a Week 13 matchup. Here’s what you need to know before kickoff (noon, Fox-32).

Latest Bears news | Get Brad Biggs’ 10 thoughts first | Sign up for our free Bears alerts | Follow us on Instagram

QB updates — on both sides

Bears quarterback Justin Fields was limited in practice Wednesday but returned in full Thursday and Friday as he continues to recover from a separated left shoulder.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is recovering from a right thumb fracture from earlier in the season and a ribs injury that knocked him out of the loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 12.

The last time Rodgers played at Soldier Field, he was yelling “I own you!” to bird-flipping Bears fans in a 24-14 Packers win. It was one of Rodgers’ 24 wins as a starter against the Bears with just five losses. He has a 108.1 career passer rating in the rivalry, including a 125-plus rating in each of his last five games against the Bears.

Fields said Wednesday that it’s not about being 100% but being able to perform up to his standards.

“There’s a few people in this league that are quote-unquote 100% (in Week 13),” Fields said. “So I’m just going to go out there and if I feel like I can help my team win … and put points on the board, then I’m going to go out there and play.”

The Bears have lost five consecutive games and eight of nine, but with only five games remaining, they are running out of opportunities for Fields and the offense to make improvements with an eye toward next season.

The Bears averaged 29.5 points in a five-game stretch through the Falcons loss when Fields was injured, so things were trending upward. The passing game remains very much a work in progress, but the running game with Fields involved has been dynamic and dominant.

  • 5 things to watch in Sunday’s game at Soldier Field — plus our Week 13 predictions
  • Column: Aaron Rodgers vs. Justin Fields. This is exactly what the rivalry needs — right here and right now.
History lesson

Except for two years — 1922 and 1982 — the Bears and Packers have played each other every season since 1921.

They are the two oldest teams in continuous operation in the National Football League with a rivalry spanning 203 games, including two playoff meetings. The Packers hold a slight lead in the series with 104 wins to the Bears’ 95, with six ties.

Here’s a look back, decade by decade, at how the teams have fared and the highlights — and lowlights — of their matchups.

The Bears have started 20 quarterbacks since the Packers since 1992. That number will tick up to 21 if anyone other than Fields starts Sunday. On the flip side, just three quarterbacks have started for the Packers against the Bears since ‘92 (Brett Favre started 32 games. Rodgers has started 29).

Read more eye-catching numbers before the Week 13 matchup here.

Injury news

The Bears placed Eddie Jackson on injured reserve, cutting short a resurgent season from the sixth-year safety.

Jackson suffered a noncontact left foot injury in the second quarter of a 31-10 loss to the Jets. On Mike White’s 54-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Wilson, Jackson was backpedaling when he slipped with nobody around him. He limped off the field without putting weight on his leg.

Jackson, who will be 29 in December, was having his most productive season since 2018. He had four interceptions, six passes defended, two forced fumbles and 80 tackles in 12 games.

The Bears also placed wide receiver Darnell Mooney, who needs season-ending ankle surgery, on injured reserve.

His injury leaves the Bears without one of their most important players as they try to make strides in their still-quiet passing game. The 2020 fifth-round pick out of Tulane had 81 catches for 1,055 yards and four touchdowns last season. He had 40 catches for 493 yards and two touchdowns this year.

“When you lose the production of those guys, number one, that always hurts and also the leadership part of it,” coach Matt Eberflus said of Jackson and Mooney. “Those guys have been great in the locker room. They are great teammates. They really are encouraging to others and they really model the behavior we wish to see.”

Cornerback Kyler Gordon and safety Jaquan Brisker haven’t practiced the last two weeks while in the concussion protocol and are out for Sunday. With Jackson out, the Bears again will be thin at safety, at which veteran DeAndre Houston-Carson and rookie Elijah Hicks will start. Cornerback Kindle Vildor also has been was limited this week by an ankle injury and is listed as questionable.

Right tackle Riley Reiff was limited in practices Thursday and Friday as he recovers from a back injury. But Eberflus indicated that Reiff is still in line to start Sunday. Fellow offensive tackle Larry Borom, meanwhile, missed both practices didn’t practice this week with ankle and knee injuries and has been declared out.

Wide receiver Dante Pettis, who missed two practices this week with an illness, was back as a full participant Friday and is clear to play.

For the Packers, left tackle David Bakhtiari underwent an appendectomy Friday and was ruled out for Sunday. Safety Darnell Savage (foot) is doubtful after leaving Sunday’s game against the Eagles and not practicing this week. Linebacker De’Vondre Campbell (knee) and receiver Romeo Doubs (ankle) are questionable.

Miss anything this week? Catch up before kickoff.
  • 5 things to watch in Sunday’s game at Soldier Field — plus our Week 13 predictions
  • Column: Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles — with a bounty of available salary-cap space — can start by investing in his own players
  • Column: Aaron Rodgers vs. Justin Fields. This is exactly what the Bears-Packers rivalry needs — right here and right now.
  • Column: It’s time for the Bears to take a look at Alex Leatherwood — and whether he can fill a need on the offensive line in 2023
  • Bears Q&A with Brad Biggs: Have Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus given hints about offseason priorities? Who’s a better fit in the draft, Jalen Carter or Will Anderson?
  • 12 eye-catching Bears-Packers numbers before the Week 13 game
  • Column: As the Bears’ latest skid drags on, players must find motivation within to maintain their focus
  • Will the Bears leave Soldier Field for Arlington Heights? Here’s what to know.

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