The offense in general was unstoppable, as it's been all season when not turning the ball over, as
Like the Cowboys, the Bears also boast one of the best pass rushers in the league, with Julius Peppers playing the role of DeMarcus Ware, who had 4.0 sacks against the Eagles. Peppers will line up opposite
Last Time They Met:
November 28, 2010: Eagles 26, Bears 31
When the Eagles last faced the Bears, they did so with Dimitri Patterson,
When The Eagles Have The Ball:
Throughout the first five games of the season, the prism with which the Eagles offense was viewed tended to be, “If only they can get out of their own way and stop the turnovers, this offense could be unstoppable.” Well, in game six, against a Dallas Cowboys defense that was ranked top five in the league, the Eagles finally put together the kind of performance that makes Eagles fans wonder whether this could be the best offense in franchise history. The team is on pace to set the franchise record for yards gained in a season, thanks to elite performances from the likes of Michael Vick,
The Bears line is led, of course, by Julius Peppers. Peppers has only 4.0 sacks on the season, but he's been limited by a knee injury. With a week of rest before the Monday night matchup, expect Peppers to be fresh and ready to go, flanked by Israel Idonije, who has 3.0 sacks of his own. The strength of the Bears defense, as always, is their linebackers, specifically Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. Both are perennial Pro Bowlers and are equally adept at defending the run and the pass. Their main focus will be on stopping McCoy, who has 58 carries over his last two games, and ran for 53 yards on 10 carries against the Bears last season. Where the Bears could be vulnerable is at safety, where there's already been plenty of turnover for the team this season. Major Wright and Chris Conte are the next starters and they will have to worry about the deep speed of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. If the Bears follow the game plan set by the Redskins and Cowboys, namely playing their safeties far down the field, expect Vick to once again exploit the middle of the field. The final thing for the Eagles offense to remember is to protect the ball at all costs. The Bears are notorious for stripping the ball, in fact they forced four Vick fumbles last season even though the Eagles recovered each one. But as we saw against the Cowboys, if they limit the turnovers, the Eagles shouldn't be worried about any defense.
When The Bears Have The Ball:
It is going to be extremely important that Juan Castillo's defense stifles the Bears in the early portion of the game, much like they did against Dallas. The Bears are 4-3 this season, and in their three losses they have scored 13 points, 17 points and 13 points, respectively. More importantly, though, the Bears scored just seven total points in the first quarter of those losses. In the first quarter of their four wins? They've scored 43 total points. Last year, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler had a monster game against the Eagles throwing for four touchdowns, though the Eagles did not have All-Pro cornerback Asante Samuel for this game due to an injury. This season, Cutler has completed 59.1 percent of his passes for nine touchdowns against six interceptions for a QB rating of 84.0. He has been sacked 21 times this season, but only three times in the past two games. Cutler has dynamic arm strength, but his tendency to feel pressure will mess up his mechanics. Cutler's offensive line has not helped with that at times this season. The Bears' most recent loss to the Lions is evidence of that and should serve well as a blueprint for the Eagles, who also run the Wide-9 technique. Detroit harassed Cutler all game long, but credit Cutler, who stood tall in the pocket and made some gutsy throws to keep the Bears in the game.
The offensive line could see the return of first-round pick Gabe Carimi on Monday night. Carimi has missed five games with a dislocated knee, but returned to practice last week. The Bears have to weigh whether it's smart to bring back Carimi, who is atop the depth chart at right tackle, or keep the continuity in place that has served well in the past two games. Out of the backfield, Eagles fans will see a running back who will remind them of LeSean McCoy in terms of production. Matt Forté is sixth in the league in rushing and is first among all running backs in the NFL with 419 receiving yards. Forté has good short area quickness which serves him well in the screen game, so expect the Bears to test the Eagles in that facet much like the Bills did a few weeks back with Fred Jackson. One area in which the Eagles have been exploited in the past, the tight end, is not a worry with the Bears, as Kellen Davis is not a dynamic pass-catching option. On the outside, Cutler has experience in Roy Williams, speed in Devin Hester and intriguing talent in rookie Dane Sanzenbacher, who actually leads the team with three receiving touchdowns. The Eagles need to eliminate Forté and force Cutler to beat them. The ultimate question, much like it was last week against Dallas, is which Cutler will surface on Monday night.
Players To Watch
RB Matt Forté
Matt Forté burst onto the scene as a rookie second-round pick in 2008 and rushed for 1,238 yards and eight touchdowns. He added another 477 yards and four touchdowns through the air in his first season. Forté is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the league today. He leads all running backs in receptions and receiving yards, with 38 for 419 yards through seven games. He ranks sixth in the league in rushing yards, with 672 on 124 carries (5.4 yards per carry). Against the Carolina Panthers earlier this season, he rushed for a career-high 205 yards on 25 carries, leading the Bears to a crucial 34-29 victory. He'll look to take advantage of an Eagles defense that ranks 18th against the run, allowing 118.3 yards per game. This will be more difficult than it would appear to be at first glance, as the Eagles have surrendered just 127 rushing yards in their last two games combined.
LB Brian Urlacher
Brian Urlacher was written off by many analysts after suffering a season-ending dislocated wrist injury in the 2009 season opener. One year earlier, Urlacher failed to notch at least 100 tackles for the first time in a season in which he played more than nine games. The Bears' all-time leader in tackles worked harder than ever and came back in 2010 to post 125 tackles and register four sacks. Chicago's unquestioned leader on defense, the 12-year veteran has contributed 41 sacks and three interceptions in his career. The Bears, however, have allowed the ninth-most yards in the NFL this season (380.6). Urlacher is still the lynchpin in the Bears' Cover 2 scheme with his ability to play downhill and his range in the pass game. The Bears will look to build upon the success they've had the last two weeks, in which they allowed a paltry 28 total points.
Bears RDE Julius Peppers vs. Eagles LT Jason Peters
Peppers arguably got the better of this All-Pro matchup last season when he sacked Michael Vick once, forced a fumble and added another tackle for loss. That should serve as motivation for Peters, who, despite missing two games, is putting together one of the more impressive seasons of his decorated career. Peters has been a monster in the run game, ranking as the second-best run blocker in the league at his position according to ProFootballFocus.com. The Eagles' trust in Peters in the run game is also apparent when you consider that they have run to the left end 59 times this season, the most in the league.
Bears RS Devin Hester vs. Special Teams Coordinator Bobby April
Simply stated, Devin Hester is the greatest returner of all time –apologies to former Eagle Brian Mitchell. Hester has 16 career touchdowns on kickoff or punt returns, the most in league history. And though DeSean Jackson would have something to say about the best punt returner in the game today, Hester remains incredibly dangerous and a constant headache to opposing special teams units. Hester already has two return touchdowns this season and the Bears rank fifth in punt return average and 11th in kickoff return average. April and the Eagles did a good job on Hester last season in Chicago, when Hester returned only one of three punts for a measly nine yards. He also returned three kickoffs, with a long return of 46 yards. But the Eagles have two rookie specialists now, so their ability to pin dangerous returners back will be tested. Punter