Not unlike Matt Nagy and Mitch Trubisky, it's Year 2 of First and Final Thoughts. Insider JJ Stankevitz and producer Cam Ellis talk about what's on their minds between games.
Final Thoughts on Week 11
JJ Stankevitz: Since we've talked and written so much about Mitch Trubisky and the circumstances of his removal from Sunday's game, let me take this in another direction: Matt Nagy no longer appears to trust Eddy Piñeiro. For the second time this year, Nagy had his offense try to convert a fourth-and-long instead of attempting a long — but not incredibly long — field goal. Opting against having Piñeiro attempt a 49-yard field goal in the first quarter to try to convert that fourth and nine was bizarre, and does not bode well for Piñeiro's future even if the Bears aren't bringing anyone for tryouts just yet.
Piñeiro has made 12 of 17 field goals this year, but has missed his last three attempts dating back to his wide-left game-winning attempt against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 8. Perhaps more than anyone not named Trubisky, Piñeiro needs to turn things around in the final six games of 2019 to keep his job in 2020. And if he doesn't start making his kicks quickly, he might not even get six more games this year.
Cam Ellis: It was great seeing Roquan Smith play well against the Rams. Everything else about the Rams game was such a mess but he was making more plays than anyone else on the field Sunday night. His issues don't even make it onto the podium of most-discussed narratives this season, but it'd be a nice silver lining to see him finish the season strong after how it started. Danny Trevathan is week-to-week apparently (!?), but the Smith-Nick Kwiatkoski duo did pretty well in their first game together. It'll be interesting to see how quickly the Bears work to rush Trevathan or Akiem Hicks back if they've already lost 8-9 games by December.
First Thoughts on Week 12
Stankevitz: The Giants don't do anything well, ranking 27th in both offensive and defensive DVOA and entering the weekend with the same record as the Miami Dolphins. There's a legitimate chance the Giants play themselves into the second overall pick (again) if they wind up losing to the Dolphins at home and Washington on the road on Dec. 15 and 22, respectively.
Saquon Barkley, the No. 2 pick in 2018's draft, has gained 29 yards on his last 27 carries. 29 yards! Maybe the off week will have helped Barkley's balky ankle get better, but as long as the Bears can stop him from making an impact, they should cruise to a comfortable win against a truly awful football team on Sunday.
Ellis: Yeah, what JJ said. Taking any NFL game for granted is an easy way to look stupid, but the Bears are a much better team than the Giants. If there's a Tampa-2018 game in store for the Bears this season, it's this one. They're dying to hit on some big plays, too.