by Bryan Dietzler
The 3-4 Chicago Bears will travel to Philadelphia to take on the 4-4 Eagles who are flying high after a win against the Bills this past Sunday. The Bears are reeling after losing three straight, including a 17-16 decision against the Los Angeles Chargers which left a lot of people scratching their heads. The Bears needed to win and were thought to be the better team but unfortunately, they weren’t the better team on that day.
The season may appear lost for the Bears right now, but anything is possible. They could win out and the rest of the division could falter. While that’s unlikely to happen, it’s still possible.
But it appears that the Bears’ season is lost.
However, there are more games to be played and we won’t stop previewing them until the season is over.
Here is a look at the Bears’ game against the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday. Who will win? How will they win? What are the numbers behind each team’s offensive and defensive units? Let’s find out as we look at the game coming up this Sunday.
Bears on Offense
The Chicago Bears offense has been way less than stellar. They just can’t seem to get into a groove and the blame can go on every offensive player and coach on the team. We saw a lot of inept play calling in the Bears’ game against the Chargers last Sunday. It seems that Matt Nagy lost his knack for calling plays and what he was able to do last year hasn’t carried over to this year.
Is this the same coach that coached the Bears last year?
Let’s look at the running game first and see how that might help get the Bears a win in this game.
Last week, rookie running back David Montgomery had a huge day, rushing for 135 yards and a score. The Bears had been criticized for their lack of a rushing attack but last week they got it going, finally. And it almost helped them to a victory had they not experienced the ineptness on offense.
The Bears’ running game has just gotten going so their 83.1 yards per game (26th in the NFL) should improve as time goes on if head coach Matt Nagy sticks with it. Running the ball helps take some of the pressure off the quarterback and allows the play-action pass to be used efficiently.
The Bears were successful, on Sunday, when they ran the ball. They need to do the same thing against the Eagles this Sunday to have a chance to win this game.
But can the Bears run against the Eagles?
In looking at the Eagles rush defense, they are allowing teams to gain an average of 90.5 yards per game which is 8th in the NFL. That’s a pretty stout rushing defense. The Bears will have their work cut out for them. Can they get themselves going against the Eagles? They must to have a shot at winning this game.
One word can describe the passing game for the Bears. It’s a shamble. The Bears passing attack, led by quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has fallen on hard times and it looks like there isn’t going to be any relief in sight this year. The Bears are stuck with Trubisky till the end of the season, at least.
Chicago is averaging 198.3 passing yards per game which is ranked 29th in the league. That’s very poor production through the air. Some of it has to do with the play calling that the Bears have been experiencing but most of it comes from the inability of Trubisky to play the quarterback position well enough.
The Eagles are allowing teams to throw for an average of 256.1 yards per game which is good for 21st in the league. The Eagles aren’t that stout of a pass defense, thanks to their secondary being banged up. Can the Bears take advantage of this? They just have too many issues at the quarterback position to make a big difference passing the ball to make this work, unless Trubisky has a breakout game.
Overall, the Bears are averaging 281.4 yards per game which is a lowly 29th. The Bears have had only one game where they have gone over 300 yards on offense. That’s horrible.
It’s time for some changes.
The Eagles are allowing teams to gain 346.6 yards per game. That is 14th in the league. They may not have much to worry about with Chicago’s offense. They might be able to shut Chicago down completely.
Scoring so far this year hasn’t been that great for the Bears. They are ranked 27th in the league scoring 18.3 points per game. The Eagles are allowing 24.9 points per game so the Bears could score a few more points. But with the state that their offense is in, it’s doubtful that they will be able to achieve that mark or over it.
But this is football. Anything can happen.
Look for the Bears to continue to run the ball and try to get some of the pressure off Trubisky. If they can do that and Trubisky can improve then I would look for the Bears to make it close.
Bears on Defense
The Bears played a much better game against the Chargers last week on defense. Had their offense been able to do more the defense would have had an even better game and the Bears would have won. The Bears did not lose the game because of their defense.
The loss of Akiem Hicks has hurt the defense. Without him up front to disrupt things, guys like Khalil Mack and Leonard Floyd aren’t having much success making their way to the quarterback. The rushing defense has also suffered.
In looking at the Bears’ rushing defense first, after last week’s game, they rank 6th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed allowing 86 yards per game. That’s not too shabby. Had it not been for the games against the Saints and the Raiders, this rush defense might be the best in the NFL. Hick’s absence has hurt the rushing defense, but the defense is still doing somewhat of a fair job keeping the run shut down.
Let’s just hope that the Eagles don’t get their running game going. Former Chicago Bear Jordan Howard has been having a good season thus far and it would be ashamed to see him “go off” on his former team.
The Eagles offense is gaining 125 yards per game which is good for 13th in the league. The Bears are going to have to be playing their best rushing defense when they meet the Eagles because Philadelphia is going to want to run the ball often. If the Bears can’t stop them, they have no shot at winning this game.
Philadelphia’s passing attack is led by quarterback Carson Wentz. This unit has been averaging 218.8 yards per game through the air which is 21st in the league. There is some room for improvement, and we can only hope that they don’t have a big day against this Bears’ defense which is allowing 230.6 yards per game which is 10th in the league.
The Bears should be able to hold their rushing attack down provided all their players are playing on top of their game. This means guys like Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan need to be playing well.
Overall, the Bears are allowing teams to score an average of 17.4 points per game which is sixth in the NFL. The Eagles’ offense is scoring 25.2 points per game which stands at 14th in the league. The Bears are going to have their work cut out for them in this one.
Finally, when it comes to yards per game, the Bears are allowing 316.6 which ranks seventh in the NFL. The Eagles are ranked 21st on offense totaling 343.8 yards per game. The Bears need to keep them contained and pray that their offense can do something to help them score points and at least stay in the game.
After flying high for a few weeks, kicker Eddy Pinero struggled last week against the Chargers giving people flashbacks of last year. He must be better. Remember this too that he is kicking in a stadium that he has never kicked in before. Hopefully, he does well Punting was better last week and should remain so if the Bears don’t suffer any breakdowns on special teams as they did against the Saints.
Nagy will go up against a colleague of his, Doug Pedersen this Sunday. Pedersen is more experienced. That’s going to make it tough on Nagy and his team especially the way that they are playing. If Nagy can build a lead and get the upper hand, then the Bears have a chance of winning this game. But can Nagy outcoach Pedersen?
The following are the injuries for both the Bears and the Eagles this week.
Isaiah Irving-LB-Quad-He has not practiced and is out for Sunday’s game.
Trey Burton-TE-Groin-Was limited and is up in the air for Sunday.
Taylor Gabriel-WR-Shin-He was limited but should play on Sunday.
Eddie Jackson-S-Hamstring-Jackson was limited in practice but should play Sunday.
Bilal Nichols-DT-Knee-Nichols should be able to play on Sunday.
Miles Sanders-RB-Shoulder-Sanders has not practiced and may be a game-time decision for this Sunday.
Nigel Bradham-LB-Ankle-Bradham hasn’t practiced and looks to be out for Sunday.
Jason Peters-OT-Knee-Peters did not practice and looks to be out.
Tim Jernigan-DT-Foot-Jernigan was limited and his status for Sunday is up in the air.
DeSean Jackson-WR-Abdomen-Jackson was limited in practice and may not play Sunday.
Darren Sproles-RB-Quad-Sproles was limited in practice and may not play Sunday.
Josh Sweat-DE-Ankle-Sweat practiced in full this week and should be available Sunday.
Avonte Maddox-CB-Neck, Concussion-Maddox practiced in full and will most likely be available Sunday.
The Bears are going to have a tough time winning this game with the way that they are currently playing. It’s going to take some tweaking on offense, well a lot of tweaking, to get them right and capable of keeping them ahead of the Eagles. The defense needs to hold tight and be a big reason why the Bears are in the game. If they can hold the Eagles off on offense, they will be close to winning this game.
But I think it’s still a little too far of a reach for the Bears to win this one.