When Jay Cutler took Soldier Field to face the Eagles last season, he and his team were dominant. The Pro Bowl quarterback out of Vanderbilt threw for 247 yards and four touchdowns en route to a 146.2 passer rating (his best of the season) and a Bears victory.
However, this year's Eagles defense is not the same defense that was burned by the Bears last year. Because Asante Samuel was out of the lineup with an injury when the two teams played last season, the Eagles started Dimitri Patterson, Joselio Hanson, and Trevard Lindley at the top three corner spots; Brandon Graham started, opposite Trent Cole, at left defensive end.
This time around, the Eagles' top three corners, Samuel, Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, have all made the Pro Bowl. If defensive end Juqua Parker, who is listed as "doubtful", cannot go, Graham will likely be the Eagles' fourth defensive end, with Jason Babin, who made the Pro Bowl in 2010, starting opposite Cole.
Jay Cutler knows not to expect this year's game against the Eagles to play out like last year's.
"Some games just go like that," he said. "We started off hot. We passed the ball well. We ran the ball well. We converted on third down. Whenever we got in the red zone we were scoring touchdowns."
Like the Eagles, Chicago has, thus far, not lived up to the lofty expectations hoisted upon them in the preseason. The Bears, who went won the NFC North title last season with an 11-5 record, were 2-3 five weeks into this season. They've won their last two contests to improve to 4-3.
"It was a lot of different things causing us to lose games," said Cutler. "We weren't executing, we were missing assignments, missing throws, missing hot (reads), lining up incorrectly. At the end of the day we're not executing like we should when we're in the red zone.
"If we only played seven games then we'd be in trouble but we don't. We play 16. We know that, so we're not going to get down on ourselves. We're going to try each and every week to get better."
Being in this situation, the sixth-year veteran isn't allowing the Eagles' slow start make him overconfident. He has a lot of respect for this Philadelphia squad and knows that they, too, are getting better every week.
"This is a resilient group," said Cutler. "They've got a very good veteran head coach. Philly has been in this position before, and their coach knows how to handle it. They're playing good football right now. You can't take anything away from them."