Monday Night Football finds itself in the great city of Chicago this week as the Chicago Bears take on the Philadelphia Eagles. The Bears lost last week to a very good Houston team while the Eagles had their way with the lowly Cleveland Browns.
Normally I’d throw a bunch of stats around and give you number of some key guys but I decided to call upon the lovely site of reddit. User r/slumslum does a weekly game preview thread for Eagles game every week. Props to this man because he complied this beautiful tapestry of data and this is only about half of it. Full credit goes to him and check out the Eagles subreddit or look up his username to find even more statistics on this match up.
|Last 10 Meetings|
|The Chicago Bears leads Philadelphia Eagles (30-12-1)|
|Head to Head Box Scores|
|The Chicago Bears lead the Philadelphia Eagles (960-650)|
|Doug Pederson: 0-0 against the Bears|
|John Fox: 3-4 against Eagles|
|Coaches Head to Head|
|Doug Pederson vs John Fox: First Meeting|
|Carson Wentz: Against Bears: 0-0|
|Jay Cutler: Against Eagles: 2-2|
|Quarterbacks Head to Head|
|Carson Wentz vs Jay Cutler: First Meeting|
|Records per Stadium|
|Record @ Lincoln Financial Field: Bears lead the Eagles: 2-1|
|Record @ Solider Field: Bears lead the Eagles: 8-4|
|2016 Stats (Starters/Leaders)|
Wasn’t that sexy? Well now lets move onto the key story lines for the game.
Keys for the Eagles Offense
This is pretty much the easiest and most predictable story line. Eagles rookie QB Carson Wentz was throwing dimes against Cleveland last Sunday. That must continue for the Eagles to get to 2-0. Though the Bears defense is much better than they get credit for and should be an entire level above that Browns defense. Giving Vic Fangio a week to prepare for a Rookie QB in his first road game in Soldier Field on prime time Monday Night Football, means Wentz absolutely needs to take care of the ball. A sloppy game from Wentz could turn this game ugly quick. Doug Peterson should rely on Ryan Mathews to carry Wentz for the first quarter until he can finally settle into this game.
Keys for the Eagles Defense
Hit Jay Cutler and hit Jay Cutler a lot. Last week the Houston Texan rushed Cutler on 56.8% of his passes and made Cutler the most rushed QB of the week. Cutler and the offense were completely shut down outside of two quick touchdowns in the late second quarter. JJ Watt and co came alive in the second half and pitched a shut out. The Eagles need to be planning to do the same. Though Eagles fans need to be weary as Cutler has consistently feasted on Jim Schwartz’s defense in Detroit and that trend could continue in Philly. It’s going to take a big effort to contain Alshon Jeffery. The key to all the Eagles’ potential problems lie in the arms of Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham. If they can get constant pressure, they will destroy Chicago’s offensive rhythm. The old adage always talks about the game won within the trenches of the big lines, well this game hold true to that. Its all about that D-line in Philly.
Keys for the Bears Offense
Get Kevin White going and get him going early. If you are withing a thousand miles of Chicago you are hearing whispers of the word bust being tied to the name Kevin White. Insanity, after all White playing only his first NFL game. There’s no way around it, the performance was brutal and was even the cause for Cutler’s only interception where White just stopped on a timing route and allowed for the easiest pick the Texans will see all year. Kevin is not a bust but he needs to start coming on. The reports out of Bears camp is that they are going to shorten his route tree and keep it simple for White. I don’t care if White is only running slants, screen, and verts, his freak athletic nature makes him a threat to score every time he touches the ball. The Bears need White to get going so defenses can’t double team Alshon out of the game. There’s a reason White was in the same conversation as Amari Cooper, he just needs to show it this game.
Keys for the Bears Defense
Stop Ryan Mathews at all costs.The number one goal for the Bears is to make this a game where Wentz has to win with his arm and his arm alone. Vic Fangio may have sung the praises of Wentz but you know his mouth is watering with the potential for all the blitzes and exotic packages he can run against a rookie QB’s first game on the road. By taking away the safety of the run and safety valve tight end Zach Ertz away from Wentz, he could be in trouble of ending up in the wrong side of the prime time spotlight. Look at Eddie Goldman who has become an underrated rock of that Bears defensive line to stuff the run early and often. It also sounds like the Bears can expect #1 CB Kyle Fuller to play in this game. The Bears suffered from a lack of depth at CB already and losing Fuller and others during the Houston game burnt them. With Fuller in the lineup the Bears might be able to rely on him to shut down Jordan Matthews a little bit easier and send that extra guy in the box to stuff RB Ryan Mathews.
Prediction: Bears 27 – Eagles 17
(Bonus gambling section)
Line: Bears (-3) Bears are only getting the standard home field 3 point favorite in Vegas right now. Cutty is money in MNF with a record of 8-2. I feel like the Bears bring this one home pretty easily. Very confident in the cover by the Bears.
Over/Under (42.5): I currently have the final score at just over and I think that is the bet I’m making if I bet the over/under. This match up doesn’t scream defense to me and while it feels like it ends up very close to the line, Over is the play in this game. Moderate confidence in the over.