Eagle eye view on the enemy: Chicago Bears
25 November 2017 Opinion
The Philadelphia Eagles have a chance to go 10-1 on the season this Sunday while hosting the Chicago Bears at Lincoln Financial Field. It’s a huge deal and one that will further assist the Eagles’ pursuit of clinching the NFC East Division in the next few weeks. Needless to say, the Eagles will be prepared for a tough fight from the Chicago Bears.
Let’s take a look at the rosters for this Sunday’s matchup:
Carson Wentz has been outstanding. It is hard to deny his incredible abilities (unless you are a hater). So far this season he has managed to be a triple threat, thanks to Doug Pederson’s play calling. The threat of the run, passing and his own athletic mobility are tough to defend. I expect to see Wentz continue a strong campaign to be the league’s MVP on Sunday.
Watching Mitch Trubisky kind of resembles Wentz of last year to me. Trubisky manages to shows a lot of his talent throughout games with a less than average WR corps. He has the arm strength to stretch the field, a solid offensive line and has proven he can extend plays with his legs. I think Bears fans should be excited about him long term but on Sunday a lot will be demanded of him in a challenging away game. I am not certain how he will look with the Eagles front coming after him all day.
I know I’ve harped on Big V the last few weeks but he continues to get better. It is pretty amazing to watch. You think the OL is going to take a giant step back when the all-pro left tackle goes out but (unlike some other team) Eagles next man up mentality proves to be strong. In fact, the run game has become more impressive in the past few weeks. The strategies Eagles use to create lanes might be the best in the league at this point. The Eagles OL will be in for a tough battle in the trenches this Sunday. Although the Bears defensive front is stacked with talent, they are dealing with some key injuries that gives Eagles offensive line even more of an upper hand.
The Bears may have one of the best interior offensive lines in the league. Kyle Long, Josh Sitton and Cody Whitehair have worked very well together this season. I believe the offensive tackles are their weakest points on the line but they are serviceable and do a decent job. The true strength of this offensive line is their run protection and I expect the battle in the trenches against Eagles number 1 run defense to be very interesting.
Jim Schwartz was speaking at his press conference this past week about how the Eagles defensive front was disappointed in their performance against the Cowboys run game on Sunday Night Football. That’s how high they have set their bar for domination. Fletcher and Timmy are going to have very tough battles on the interior when it comes to the run game; however, in the passing game, I expect to see a lot of hits on Trubisky in the backfield. The rookie QB tends to hold the ball far too long and I mostly blame the Bears depleted WR corps for not getting open. Overall, I think Eagles defensive line will look to dominate the run game at home once again even with Howard, Cohen and even Cunningham in the backfield trying to make some plays. The Eagles defensive ends will likely rattle the rookie QB in the process.
The Bears lost Leonard Floyd to IR this past week during the Lions game and are expected to be without Danny Trevathan vs the Eagles. There still are some very dominant players in that defensive front. The most notable is Akiem Hicks. Hicks has been playing at a high level all season; however, he is currently questionable for Sunday’s game as well. I do expect him to play but he was limited in practice with a knee injury. So far this season, the Bears have just as many sacks as Eagles (29). The question about this impressive Bears defensive front is… who will actually be healthy enough to play?
Ronald Darby proved he can live on an island in coverage vs Dez Bryant in his return to action last week. There are no wide receivers that demand a ton of respect on this Bears’ team. With the loss of Kevin White and Cameron Meredith to injuries, this team has average to below average wide receivers to cover. Eagles secondary has faced more challenging opponents and should be ready to dominate in coverage Sunday. The true concerns for the Eagles secondary are the rookie TE Shaheen and IF the Bears are smart enough to utilize RB Tarik Cohen in the passing game. I believe we have the right talent level to stunt the Bears passing game successes on Sunday.
The Bears have a very strong and young safety duo in Adrian Amos and rookie Eddie Jackson but their cornerback play is below the talent-level Wentz has faced all season. The amount of times I’ve seen the Bears CBs’ blow coverage is pretty bad. It is something I expect to see Wentz exploit given the right matchups.
Let’s not get it twisted. This is Alshon’s game. I think Alshon is really going to shine Sunday against his former team. In all honesty, I think he truly wanted to play in Chicago his entire career but the front office was not ready to commit to him long term so he walked away. The Bears secondary simply has no answers on the outside for a guy with AJ’s talent level. Jay Ajayi was able to break loose on a huge run in the second half of the Cowboys game Sunday and I believe he will continue his stellar performance as an Eagles running back against the Bears. I also think he will be utilized in passing game more than we’ve seen thus far.
The Bears have an impressive stable of running backs and a below average wide receiving corps. Their offense leans on the run game and the coaching staff seems incompetent when it comes to play calling. If Eagles are able to eliminate the productive run game, it will be a long day for the rookie QB.
I tend to believe this game will be competitive. The Bears look good, they’ve got solid talent on both sides of the trenches and a promising rookie QB. However, the Bears still have a lot of key missing pieces and injuries that will hold them back Sunday. Eagles need to take advantage of this rebuilding team in order to blow out the windy city’s Bears. Ultimately, the Bears only hope at winning is effectively and consistently running the ball on the number 1 run defense in the league. The birds are locked in and hungry for 10-1. All phases of Eagles football are ready to make it happen for another strong home game victory.