The Chicago Bears (3-7) take on the Philadelphia Eagles (9-1) this Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. Sunday’s matchup will be the 44th meeting between the two teams with the Chicago Bears holding the all-time series advantage (29-13-1). This will be another matchup where the Bears hold the all-time series lead but they will be heavy underdogs this week as they face off with the soaring eagles who currently sit with the best record in the NFL. The Eagles also boast a second year QB in Carson Wentz who is widely considered the frontrunner to win the MVP of the league with just six weeks left in the regular season. The Bears come off of another tough loss as they dropped a winnable game to the Lions at home but Bears fans continue to watch their rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky develop into a solid signal caller and leader for this team.
Offense– This week marks the seventh start for rookie QB and first round draft pick Mitchell Trubisky as he faces off against the toughest defense he’s seen all season in the Eagles. The Eagles will undoubtedly focus their attention on Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen and force rookie Mitchell Trubisky and his receivers to beat them through the air. The Eagles allow the fewest rushing yards per game in the NFL and their secondary will be looking to force mistakes from the rookie QB. The Bears offense will struggle to score early in this hostile environment. EDGE: EAGLES
Defense– After an average performance against the Detroit Lions last week, the Chicago Bears defense is going to face their toughest challenge of the year in the Philadelphia Eagles offense. The Eagles are solid in the run game with Jay Ajayi and Legarrette Blount carrying the ball, Carson Wentz has shown pinpoint accuracy and excellent decision making all season and former Chicago Bear Alshon Jeffery and TE Zach Ertz have been two of the best pass catchers in the league. It’s going to be a tough day for Akiem Hicks and crew. EDGE: EAGLES
Special Teams– The Bears moved on from kicker Connor Barth earlier in the week and signed free agent kicker Cairo Santos. Santos is entering his fourth year after spending the previous three seasons with Kansas City where he connected on 84.8% of his field goals. Eagles kicker Jake Elliot returns to the field after being sidelined by a concussion which is a big lift for the Eagles. Kenjon Barner is the explosive punt returner for the Eagles and he has the ability to make an explosive play at any time. Pat O’Donnell is expected to be busier than normal with the Eagles tough defense making stops throughout the contest which should give more opportunities to Barner and the Eagles punt return team. EDGE: EAGLES
Offense– Adam Shaheen– After catching 4 passes for 41 yards last week with a touchdown, rookie TE Adam Shaheen leaves Bears fans eager to see more. After being considered a standout player in training camp, Shaheen was third on the depth chart behind Zach Miller and Dion Sims. With both players out with injuries, the Bears will now rely on the rookie tight end to be a reliable target for Trubisky.
Defense— Akiem Hicks– With the loss of Leonard Floyd for the season to injury and LB Danny Trevathan doubtful for a third straight game, Akiem Hicks is the best defender on the field for the Bears. For the Bears to have any chance on Sunday, Akiem Hicks will have to disrupt Wentz on pass plays and stuff the run when Ajayi and Blount get touches.
Special Teams– Cairo Santos– Last week the Bears missed out on a chance at overtime with the Lions due to another a missed field goal from Connor Barth. The Bears have no room for missed opportunities when in scoring position. If Santos can get back to his form before injury while in Kansas City, he instantly gives the Bears an upgrade on special teams.
1) Keep the clock running. The Bears will need to find a way to run the ball and make easy completions against the Eagles to keep the clock winding and keep the ball out of the hands of Carson Wentz. The more opportunities the Eagles offense has to touch the ball, the more points we can expect to see. The Bears will need to shorten the game and limit the Eagles possessions’ to have a chance to win in the fourth quarter.
2) No turnovers. The Bears have done a good job taking care of the ball since Trubisky has taken over. The Eagles are third in the league in forcing turnovers and they have no problem turning turnovers into points. If the Bears stay mistake free, it certainly helps their chances.
3) Make a special teams play. The Bears must make a special teams play to stay in this game. Whether it’s a blocked punt or a big return, the Bears offense is in need of a short field to put points on the board.
Carson Wentz is playing like a legitimate MVP candidate and Sunday will be no different. There is too much firepower on the Eagles offense while the Eagles defense thrives on taking the ball away. The Bears struggle to score in bunches and are incapable of keeping up in a shootout. Alshon Jeffery is featured in a matchup against his former team and comes up big. The Eagles are ultimately too much to handle but Mitch never lets it get out of hand like our previous QBs. Eagles win this one by two touchdowns.
EAGLES 34 BEARS 20
(All stats for this post were provided by espn.com)