Week Nine MNF Game Preview: Chicago Bears @ Philadelphia Eagles
The Bears beat the Eagles last season 31-26 at Soldier Field.
The Bears defense were able to get consistent pressure on Eagles QB Michael Vick. Also, QB Jay Cutler threw four touchdown passes in perhaps in his best game of the season.
The last meeting between the two NFC teams in Philadelphia came in 2007, when the Bears won 19-16. Each of the last four meetings have been decided by five points or fewer.
Devin Hester has 18 career punt and kick return TDs, five return touchdowns have come on Monday Night Football.
The Bears are 18-5 in games where Hester has scored a touchdown, receiving or returning
Lovie Smith is 6-2 on Monday Night Football. He is 4-1 over the last five seasons coming off a bye week.
The key matchup in tonight’s game is the rushing offenses against the defenses. The Bears 15th ranked rushing attack has put up very impressive numbers, but the Eagles rank first in the NFL on the ground.
The Eagles are allowing the about five yards per carry, so Matt Forte could be in line for a good night. LeSean McCoy has been a beast for the Eagles, so he could be in line for a good day as well for the Eagles.
The matchup of the running backs will be interesting to watch.
In three career games against Philadelphia, Matt Forte has rushed for 194 yards, averaging 4.1 ypc, while reeling in 84 yards receiving. He hasn’t been able to find the end-zone in those three games though.
In two career games against Chicago, LeSean McCoy has rushed for 152 yards, averaging 5.1 ypc, while reeling in 67 yards through the air. He has one touchdown on the ground in that time.
The two running backs will be looked at all night, but the quarterbacks will be important factors as well.
In two career games against Philadelphia, Jay Cutler has posted a QB rating of 98.3 and has thrown for five touchdowns and only one interception. He has been sacked five times in those two games.
Michael Vick is 0-3 all-time as a starter against the Bears. He has posted a 76.2 passer rating, rushed for 187 yards with no TDs, been intercepted three times and sacked 15 in five games versus Chicago.
The big name quarterbacks and running backs will be a thrill to watch tonight, but the area where the Bears will have an advantage is on defense.
The Bears linebackers are much better than the young trio that the Eagles are starting this season. Urlacher and Co. need to use their experience to an advantage.
The Eagles pass rush has been lethal this season however, as well as their very talented secondary. DE Jason Babin, who was signed this off-season has posted nine sacks in seven games thus far this season.
Cornerbacks Asante Samuel and Nnamdi Asomugha has reeled in three interceptions combined and will be tough matchups for the Bears receiving core.
With WR Earl Bennett returning for the Bears, it will only help them on tough third-down situations.
The game will likely come down to the pressure brought by the defensive front of both teams.
Will Julius Peppers and the rest of the Bears defensive line repeat their performance from a year ago?
Will Jason Babin and the rest of the talented Eagles defensive line keep getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks?
Both questions will be answered tonight. The running backs and the defensive lines should be pumped up and ready to go tonight.
The quarterbacks, Jay Cutler and Michael Vick both want to make that big play.
Players Who Must Step Up:
1) Lance Briggs- He posted only six tackles in last season’s matchup with Philadelphia, but has made 55 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble thus far this season. He will be called upon to be in the right gaps alongside Brian Urlacher. The defense doesn’t want a repeat of their last MNF performance. Look for Briggs to be sound on defense tonight.
Prediction: Eight tackles, one forced fumble.
2) Kellen Davis- He has been quiet as of late, posting only two catches over the last two games. He has been improving as a blocker and has been a weapon at times in the offense. He was able to score against the Eagles a season ago, so he could again take advantage of the weak linebackers once again.
Prediction: Three catches, 42 yards, one touchdown.
3) Charles Tillman- He will be asked to cover the Eagles top receivers, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. He has forced two fumbles thus far this season, but hasn’t yet reeled in an interception. He has been a very consistent corner for the Bears over the years. He will have a tough task tonight, so expect him to be mentally and physically ready for the Eagles weapons.
Prediction: Six tackles.
Bears 23, Eagles 20.
Expect the temperature to be around the mid-40′s all night in Philadelphia.