The Eagles will face one of their toughest challenges to date in a dangerous Chicago Bears team, in front of a national audience under the lights at Lincoln Financial Field. There is a possibility that either team could clinch their division title with a win. The Bears would take the NFC North crown with a win and losses from both the Packers and Lions earlier in the day. The Eagles will punch their playoff ticket with the combination of a win and a Cowboys loss.
While there are a lot of outside circumstances that could affect the game’s significance, none of them matter to running back
“I feel like this game, I want to put the offense on my back,” McCoy said on Wednesday. “I want to roll. I want to get going. I think that me and the guys up front, we have to set the tone. I think once we do that, we can worry about the other teams. For right now, I feel like the big guys up front and myself- we need to put this game on our backs and take care of business.”
On paper, McCoy’s proclamation is backed by the statistics. The Bears defensive front, riddled with injuries, allows the most rushing yards per game of any NFL team (152.4). On the other hand, the Eagles lead the NFL in rushing with 152.9 yards per game. But McCoy’s desire to take over the game isn’t all about the numbers. The league’s leading rusher is also fueled by last week’s loss to Minnesota.
“It’s a big game and I feel like the matchup is there,” said McCoy. “I feel like our offensive linemen against their defensive front and with one-on-one matchups with our backs and their linebackers and safeties, I feel like we can win that matchup, and it’s just determination. We put ourselves in a hole by losing last week, where this week we come out and we have to win.”
In order McCoy to have success on Sunday night, he’ll need a little help from his friends. The Eagles offensive linemen, or “the big guys up front,” as McCoy refers to them, have paved the way all season long for the Eagles running attack, and he expects that to continue against Chicago.
“I feel like the guys we have up front have been excellent this whole year,” said McCoy. “It’s no surprise with the type of year that I’m having because those guys have been busting their butt each week to make holes and opportunities for me to make guys miss. I feel like it’s a challenge for me and the guys up front to get it done.”
Upon hearing what McCoy said, some members of the line explained that they loved hearing that type of statement from one of the team’s offensive catalysts.
“You like hearing any one of your teammates say that,” explained center
“He’s hungry to run the ball, and we like that,” said guard
“That’s a good feeling when you hear a star running back say something like that. It doesn’t just show passion, it shows a lot of stuff about his character. It shows the hunger that he has. It shows that he wants to win and he wants to do his job and help his team as best he can. We love that.”
Running the football appears to be the obvious way to attack the Bears defense, but the Eagles are aware that becoming one-dimensional is never a good thing. The bottom line is that the Eagles will do whatever it takes to come away victorious on Sunday night.
“If they’re giving us the run, we’re going to take that,” said Kelce. “If they’re playing the run and giving us some passing plays, then we’re going to take that. With this offense, the beautiful thing is that it’s not one-dimensional. We’ve been able to do both these last few games. I don’t think that this is a game where you can go into it saying that all we’re going to do is run the ball. I don’t think that you can ever go into a game one-dimensional like that.”
“We run it, we throw it - as long as we win, it doesn’t matter,” said McCoy. “We have enough playmakers that for us to win, I don’t need to touch the ball 30- or 20-some times a game. We have enough playmakers where we can make things happen. … We don’t have to feed me the ball a million times for us to win the game. My supporting cast around me is good enough.”
Whatever game plan the Eagles coaches come up with, McCoy has confidence that the offense will be able to move the ball. According to the University of Pittsburgh product, run or pass, the man pulling all of the strings knows how to get the job done.
“(Head coach Chip Kelly) is an offensive genius. I don’t have to tell him that I need the ball or I want the ball,” McCoy said. “He knows what plays we need to run at the right times. I don’t know that stuff. If you ask me, yes I want the ball every play, but (that’s true) for any player. He knows when to run it and when to throw it and when to get his playmakers the ball.”