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Bears-Giants matchup of the day: Tuesday

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Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor

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By Dan Parr

Here's a look at a key matchup heading into Sunday's Week Four battle between the Bears and Giants:

Bears PR Devin Hester vs. Giants punt coverage unit

I'm guessing word that Devin Hester is indeed still a dangerous punter returner has made it all the way to Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, not that he wasn't already aware of it.

That may not lead him to tell his punter, Matt Dodge, to boot the ball out of bounds on Sunday night, however. Hester was in his prime as a returner the last time these two teams met — Dec. 2, 2007 — and four of Giants P Jeff Feagles' five punts stayed inbounds. Hester returned three of them for just 16 yards.

Coughlin has publicly displayed frustration with the poor play of his special-teams units recently, and he has been critical of Dodge, who had an awful season opener that included having a punt blocked for a safety. If he didn't fear Hester back in '07, though, it's unlikely that Coughlin does now, even after Hester busted a 62-yard return for a touchdown on Monday night vs. the Packers.

If Dodge does kick to Hester, he has to get plenty of hangtime on his punt to give his teammates a chance to get downfield and make a tackle or force a fair catch. Giving Hester the ball with room to run is a recipe for disaster.

It's a risky move, but Hester could get an opportunity to change the course of the game on special teams again vs. the Giants, who are ranked 26th in net punting average.

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