Eagles

Your in-depth Eagles vs. Bears Week 9 preview

The Chicago Bears will attempt to exact revenge for the Double Doink, but they’ve already recorded as many losses as they did in 2018.

The Philadelphia Eagles, meanwhile, got back in the win column last Sunday with an impressive 31-13 win over the Buffalo Bills.

What’s going to happen Sunday? Let’s break it down …

EAGLES PASSING GAME VS. BEARS PASS DEFENSE
PHI- 91.7 PASSER RATING (18/32), 218.8 YPG (22/32)
CHI- 88.8 PASSER RATING ALLOWED (12/32), 230.6 YPG ALLOWED (10/32)

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is “optimistic” that DeSean Jackson will return on Sunday.

“I’m optimistic that he’ll play,” Pederson said Friday morning. “We’re going to get through today. He’s had a great week of practice. He’s been limited on the injury report all week, so we’ll get through today and tomorrow, and we’re optimistic that he can play.”

Jackson, who caught eight passes for 154 yards in Week 1 and hauled in two 50-plus yard touchdowns, suffered an abdominal tear in a Week 2 loss against the Atlanta Falcons.

“I think any time DeSean’s on the field, defenses have to account for that speed and his receiving ability. Whether or not he’s the primary on the route could be a different story,” Pederson said. “It helps us as an offense when he’s on the field because he’s such a dynamic guy, a speed guy, and a good leader for our young guys.”

Jackson’s speed is going to stretch the field and should help Zach Ertz, who has seen a lot of double teams this year. The Eagles have used the 12 personnel packages to run the ball effectively and his wheels will help tremendously in the play-action passing game.

Jackson said Friday that the plan is for him to play.

The Eagles haven’t gotten a lot of production from their outside receivers outside of Alshon Jeffery during his absence, Mack Hollins has essentially been non-existent. He totaled 141 snaps during the month of October and didn’t record a catch on four targets.

The most important part of the Eagles’ offensive gameplan will be handling Khalil Mack, who I’m sure will be attempting to take advantage of Andre Dillard at left tackle. Dillard looked better last week, but Mack is a different beast. Dillard has struggled against power and the bull rush this year. Mack is a powerful and athletic freak.

“I would expect that in this game. We are anticipating that,” Pederson said of the Bears potentially matching Mack against Dillard. “They do move him around on both edges and also inside. Something that’s a little different with them, just trying to utilize his strengths as a pass rusher. Andre has played well the last two games. This will be probably the biggest challenge and biggest test for him in his young career. He’s had a great week. He prepares. He studies the tape and he’ll be ready.”

The Bears’ defense lost defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to Denver during the offseason, but the new Monsters of the Midway remains an elite defense.

“The personnel is similar. Same guys minus a couple. But in the structure, it’s relatively the same. There are some [Bears Defensive Coordinator] Chuck Pagano tweaks with this defense.

This defense plays fast. They play hard. They have a great front four. I feel like, again, this secondary is another good test for our receivers.

But it’s one of those defenses where they are not necessarily going to show you a lot of things or do a lot of things because they are so good and they just want to lineup and play football. It’s a really good test for us.”

 

EAGLES RUNNING GAME VS. BEARS RUN DEFENSE
PHI- 4.3 YPC (13/32), 125 YPG (13/32)
CHI- 3.6 YPC ALLOWED (3/32), 86.0 YPG ALLOWED (6/32)

The Eagles ran the ball 41 times for 218 yards against the Bills last Sunday.

It was the most rushing attempts by Philadelphia during the Pederson era and Jordan Howard’s 23 carries Sunday were also the most during Doug’s tenure. Howard put up 96 yards on those totes.

The Bears, of course, traded Howard to the Eagles during the offseason for a sixth-round pick.

“I don’t know about all that. I just know we got a great player and we benefitted from that obviously. We studied his tape and saw what he had done his first couple years in the league and sometimes I think — maybe he didn’t fit their structure and what [Bears Head Coach Matt] Nagy was trying to do, but I can’t really — I don’t want to comment or speculate on that. I know that when we got him, we were excited to get him and get him into our mix and he’s proven to play each week and done a great job.”

Miles Sanders also took a leap forward in the running game. He had been bringing it in the passing game, but his 65-yard TD run showed that he can hit the home run.

Sanders became the sixth player in the last 20 years to register 250 yards rushing and receiving in his first eight career games, joining Jahvid Best, Le’Veon Bell, Alvin Kamara, Kareem Hunt and Saquon Barkley.

Sanders exited Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury, but he was back at practice Wednesday and is expected to go against Chicago.

 

BEARS PASSING GAME VS. EAGLES PASS DEFENSE
PHI- 93.6 PASSER RATING ALLOWED (19/32), 256.1 YPG ALLOWED (21/32)
CHI- 84.7 PASSER RATING (23/32), 198.3 YPG (29/32)

Mitchell Trubisky hasn’t taken the step forward so far that the Bears have hoped.

Trubisky, who was 23-of-35 for 253 yards and two fourth quarter turnovers, has been really struggling completing passes downfield. He has only completed four passes for over 30 yards this season, although three did come last Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Allen Robinson is his No. 1 target and he found success against the Eagles in the Wild Card game, catching 10 passes for 143 yards.

The Eagles racked up four sacks last week and the pressure was consistent. It was one of the best defensive line performances of the season. Fletcher Cox appears to be finally coming along after having 1 1/2 sacks Sunday.

Jim Schwartz discussed the pressure.

“It was productive in a fashion of getting the quarterback off schedule, getting him off the spot, sort of taking certain — like a lot of times you look at the coverage and say the coverage broke down here, but a lot of times your pass rush can cover — we had one play we missed a switch with our corner and our nickel and we cut a guy loose down the field wide open, safety was coming over but it was going to be a big gain. But the pass rush covered that up, we got a sack on that play. So whether you get a sack, you take the quarterback off of that, there’s a lot of different ways for your pass rush to be successful. We’re still a work in progress there, there’s more we can go, but I think you’re seeing good signs. I think Fletch [DT Fletcher Cox] is obviously being a lot more impactful in the game and that’s great to see. This easily could have been a three and a half sack game for him. It was a productive game anyway, but there’s still more meat left on that bone.”

The Eagles added to their defensive line rotation with the acquisition of defensive end Genard Avery from the Cleveland Browns for a fourth-round pick.

“He gave them some speed off the edge, was a productive sacker, he wasn’t playing very much this year so it’s hard to — and they changed schemes. So a lot of times that happens when you have guys that are sort of successful in one scheme, there’s a coaching change, they maybe fit one scheme better than another. But we’re excited to have him and he’s done some good things pass rushing and we’ll try to get him up to speed as quick as we can on stuff like that.”

 

BEARS RUNNING GAME VS. EAGLES RUN DEFENSE
PHI- 3.9 YPC ALLOWED (8/32), 90.5 YPG ALLOWED (8/32)
CHI- 3.6 YPC (26/32), 83.1 YPG (26/32)

Bears head coach Matt Nagy has been getting eviscerated for not running the ball enough, but vowed to run it last week and lived up to his word.

Rookie David Montgomery ran for a career-high 135 yards on 27 carries. This was after the Bears ran the ball just seven times against the New Orleans Saints the week prior.

If Nagy vows to run the ball early and often again, he’ll have to do so against one of the best running defenses in the NFL.

 

PREDICTION: The Bears have a great defense, but a bad offense. This is one of those games where you limit your mistakes and let Trubisky and the Bears beat themselves. If the Eagles can get to 20, they should win this game.

20-13 EAGLES

 


You can follow Adrian Fedkiw on Twitter (@AdrianFedkiw) and e-mail him at adrian@phillyinfluencer.com. Subscribe to The Bitter Birds on YouTube here.

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