The Eagles head to Chicago for a prime time battle against the Bears on Sunday night. On paper, this should be a win for the Eagles, but the Bears are coming off of consecutive losses, and aren’t going to just give in to the Eagles. The Bears are going to offer the Eagles some trouble, but the Eagles’ fourth ranked defense, first ranked rushing defense, and fourth ranked offense should give the Bears plenty to deal with.
The Eagles defense showed exactly what it is capable of against the Steelers. They sacked Pittsburgh’s quarterbacks nine times; eight of those came against Roethlisberger.
The Bears love to run the ball, but the Eagles aren’t having it this year. They are only allowing an average of 47.5 yards per game. They have already shut down Rams RB Steven Jackson, the Cowboys’ Marion Barber and Felix Jones, and Pittsburgh’s “fast” Willie Parker. The simple fact of the matter is, no matter how good the Bears’ rookie running back Matt Forte is, the Eagles defense will shut him down.
This causes a lot of problems for the Bears. They love to pound the ball, and then go over the top with play-action passes. With the running game shut down, the play-action goes away, and QB Kyle Orton will have to get the ball out fast, something he is not accustomed to doing. The Bears receivers are not anything to fear and they don’t yet know whether their best player, Devin Hester, is going to be available.
Their offense is very similar to the Steelers’, and we should see a similar performance from our defense. I doubt we see nine sacks, but we should see a lot of pressure from defensive coordinator Jim Johnson.
Brian Dawkins proved last week that he is not too old or slow to play this game. He had one sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and seven tackles (five solo). Look for him to have another big game.
All in all, this defense should have no problem shutting down a weak Bears’ offense.
The Eagles’ offense is banged up right now. Donovan McNabb has a chest contusion. Brian Westbrook has a strained ankle. Shawn Andrews hasn’t practiced because of back spasms, and a few other key players are injured. (L.J. Smith, Jamaal Jackson, Kevin Curtis, and Tony Hunt)
Last year in week 4, the Eagles went into Giant Stadium for a Sunday night showdown, without Brian Westbrook. Donovan McNabb was sacked 12 times. I doubt we’ll see that again. Westbrook remains confident he will be able to play, but even if he doesn’t, our offense will still run just fine. Last year, Donovan McNabb was coming off an injury that really hurt his ability to throw down field. This year, the deep ball is back, and the Bears won’t be able to play close to the line to try and shut down our short passes. If they do, Donovan is going to make them regret it by hitting his receivers for big gains.
The Bears’ defense is no joke though. They’ve been playing the 46 defense quite a bit. They like to bring 6-8 players up to the line of scrimmage to stop the run. They are doing a great job of it. Don’t look for any of our running backs to have a spectacular day. It’s just not going to happen. Brian Griese threw the ball 67 times last week, simply because the Bears didn’t allow the Buccaneers to run the ball. Although I don’t expect the Eagles to throw the ball that much, McNabb could be dropping back to pass about 80% of the time. Again, he is going to have a huge game.
Look for Desean Jackson to have another big game as well. The Bears’ secondary really isn’t that good, and Jackson’s speed should cause a lot of mismatches. The Bears rely on their front seven getting to the quarterback. The Eagles shouldn’t have too many problems protecting McNabb, and the “5 and dime” connection should be huge. Maybe Jackson finally gets his first touchdown.
This is probably going to be a fight into the third quarter, but if the Bears have a real negative on the defensive side of the ball, it is that they get tired. The Bears have lost back-to-back games in the fourth quarter or overtime. The defense is aggressive, but if the Eagles keep their offense off the field, by the third quarter, the defense will be too tired to keep up with Philly’s high powered offense.
This game is going to be close up until half time, but look for the Eagles to pull away in the third quarter. Eagles win 31-13.