GridironGab Week Twelve Preview – Philadelphia at Chicago

DeSean Jackson vs. Bears

1. Michael Vick’s Versatility
There isn’t a quarterback in the league who has shown the type of versatility that Michael Vick has shown this season. He’s always been an elite running quarterback, but he is showing everyone that he can be just as deadly with his arm.

This is bad news for teams around the NFL because Vick is surrounded by young, explosive talent everywhere you look. Vick’s individual efforts have been great this season, but he wouldn’t be having the success that he’s had this season without the weapons he has on offense.

With the extra time off, the Bears have had an extended opportunity to game plan for Vick. However, his versatility makes it nearly impossible to shut him down completely. He has the ability to extend plays with his legs when nothing is available and is throwing accurate strikes when he has time in the pocket.

2. Eagles Rush Defense is Dominating Right Now
The Eagles have seen a lot of elite running backs this year and have done a tremendous job in shutting them down. On the season, the Eagles rank 8th against the run.

Last week against the Giants, we may have seen one of the Eagles most dominating performances against the run so far this year. The Giants totaled 61 yards on 19 carries, and the combination of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs were shut down all game.

Matt Forte isn’t having his best season, but he is still a guy the Bears will look to get going early. Although they will try to run the ball on the Eagles, I can’t see the Bears having a whole lot of success. The Eagles run defense is playing at an extremely high level right now.

3. Eagles Will Force Jay Cutler to Beat Them With His Arm
As mentioned in the last point, the Bears probably won’t see a whole lot of success running on the Eagles on Sunday. This means they will be forced to throw the ball and I don’t think that exactly spells success when you have Jay Cutler at the helm.

Cutler has thrown for 12 touchdowns this season while also throwing 10 interceptions and has a quarterback rating of 84.2. These aren’t the type of numbers you would expect to have from a quarterback whose team is 7-3.

Cutler’s high number of interceptions seems to match perfectly with an Eagles defense that leads the league in picking off opposing quarterbacks.

The Eagles know that’s the match-up that they want, so at the end of the day, they will force Cutler into beating them with his arm. That’s not something I think he can do.

4. The Eagles Have Too Many Offensive Weapons
I’ve already talked about Vick, and the Eagles offense starts with him. However, as I also mentioned, Vick has countless weapons surrounding him.

The one that stands out the most after last week’s game is LeSean McCoy. He still hasn’t been receiving a ton of touches offensively, but he is taking advantage of every touch he gets. McCoy has been stepping up and making big plays all season, but he may have made some of his biggest in the win against the Giants last week.

Everyone knows about the DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin duo, and they continue to play at a very high level. If one is getting double-teamed, the other one steps up. Each of them has a ton of big play potential and we’ve seen Vick connecting on the long ball with both targets. It’s impossible to shut both of them down, and if you don’t shut either of them down, you’re really in trouble.

Jason Avant doesn’t make those 80-yard touchdown grabs, but he has been incredibly consistent this season (let’s not talk about his touchdown drop last week). Although we’ve seen limited production out of Brent Celek this season, I’m not ready to say he can’t be a threat. The Eagles just aren’t really involving tight ends in their passing formations this season.

We’ve also seen guys like Riley Cooper and Jerome Harrison step up when given the opportunity. The Eagles are extremely deep at the play-making positions on offense.

5. The Bears are Overrated
I find it very difficult to believe that this team is 7-3. I really do. Bears fans are definitely going to disagree with me here, but I’m just not that impressed by this team. The only really good team that they’ve beaten is the Packers.

Outside of that, they’ve beaten the Lions, Cowboys, Panthers, Bills, Vikings, and Dolphins. Nothing too impressive there. Two out of their three losses were close games, but they came against the Redskins and Seahawks. Again, not very talented teams.

The Eagles are as hot as any team in the NFL right now and have beat very talented teams in their hot stretch since the bye week. I think this will be the Bears toughest game up to this point in the season, and I just can’t see them coming out on the winning end.

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