Sunday Night Football Preview – Philadelphia Eagles @ Chicago Bears

If you look at the stats, this one has all the hallmarks of a cracking game.

Both teams hold a 7-3 record. Both top of their respective divisions. They are the top 2 defences in the NFL on defensive turnovers (Bears 29, Eagles 27). However, they have got here in very different fashions. Chicago lean on a tough defence, held together by pro-bowl linebackers Brian Urlacher & Lance Briggs. They don’t allow much through, and that has given a stuttering offence more opportunities to put points on the board. Philadelphia, conversely, are driven by an explosive offence led by the always-entertaining Mike Vick, with an array of weapons such as DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin & LeSean McCoy.

The big factor in this game can be summed up with this question: Can the Bears slow the Eagles offence down enough for Jay Cutler & company to put up points?

Last week Philadelphia racked up 27 points against the top overall defence in the league (at the time – New York Giants). In Chicago’s last game, they could only muster 16 points against a struggling Miami Dolphins side. The Bears run the Tampa 2 defensive scheme, and may do the best job of any team this season at slowing down Vicks running game. In addition, Chicago have only allowed 5 receiving TD’s this season, although they may face a brand new challenge with the speed of Jackson & Maclin.

The Eagles defence is not full of holes either, and they lead the NFL in interceptions with 19. While they will be without their top cornerback, Asante Samuel, Dimitri Patterson (who took over the starting right CB job from Ellis Hobbs) has been playing at an extremely high level. Philadelphias secondary will not be as outstanding as it has been in the last 2 weeks, but Cutler will not have an easy ride.

To make things harder for Jay Cutler, the Eagles are adept at bringing pressure, both off the edge and through the middle, with a blitz heavy defensive scheme.  The Bears quarterback has been sacked more than anyone else in the league this year (33 times) and if his offensive line dont give him time he is either going to make mistakes, or get hit alot. Either way it could be a long afternoon for him.

Who to Watch

Devin Hester – Chicago Bears KR/PR/WR – Hester needs one more return touchdown to become the all time leader in the history of the NFL. If the Eagles have much sense, they won kick it to him. He is an incredibly dangerous runner in open space and does a fantastic job of seeing running lanes. If you see him back to receive a kick or a punt, hold your breath – it may well go to the house.

Winston Justice – Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Tackle – This is not so much a suggestion to watch a tackle all day. Don’t get me wrong, they are stunning athletes and their position is actually one of the most technically difficult to play, but it’s usually more fun to watch the deep passes and long runs than a lineman at work. However, this week Justice will line up at right-tackle against perrenial pro-bowler Julius Peppers. Peppers is a gifted off-the-edge pass rusher, and will be chasing Vicks blindside all afternoon. We saw against the Redskins and Giants – Give Mike Vick time in the pocket and he’ll hurt you. Winston Justice could be the most important man in Philadelphias offense on Sunday night.


Looking at the numbers, this seems like an even game. However I think this is a matchup that heavily favours the Eagles.

Philadelphia 31 – 20 Chicago


Andy Stuart

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