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Keys To The Game

If the Eagles want to snap their two-game losing streak, here are the keys to a win Sunday night ...

  • Make Cutler pay – Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will take chances. He'll throw across his body and into the middle of the field. He'll force balls into coverage. We must come up with picks when the ball is catchable.
  • Control Olsen – Tight end Greg Olsen is the Bears key receiving threat. He's only fourth on the team in catches, but is Cutler's go-to guy. He also leads the Bears with six touchdown catches. We don't need to shut him down necessarily, but we do need to limit big plays and really cover him in the red zone.
  • Block Tommie Harris – The Bears starting ends have combined for nine sacks. They can get after the quarterback. It helps that Harris gets such a good push from his defensive tackle position. He is explosively quick off the ball. Harris has given us problems in the last two meetings.
  • Six vs. Three – The difference in winning and losing the last two years against Chicago boiled down to kicking field goals instead of scoring touchdowns. That also cost the Eagles last week in San Diego. We must execute better on pass plays. The blocking and running must be better. The coaches need to do whatever they can to get us into the end zone.
  • Tackle well – Bears receiver Johnny Knox has explosive speed. Devin Hester is almost as fast, but is one of the most elusive players in the entire league. Chicago likes to throw those guys short passes so they can run with the ball. Our cornerbacks must come up and make sure tackles. Having Sheldon Brown on the right side will really help with this.
  • Work the middle of the field – Linebacker Brian Urlacher is out for the year. That opens up the middle of the field on pass plays. We need to run some crossing routes. DeSean Jackson can lose Charles Tillman if they get matched up. We also need to run some vertical routes. There should be openings in the middle for Jason Avant and Brent Celek. Don't be surprised to see more of Reggie Brown.
  • Watch for screens – Forte burned us last year on several screen passes. We want to blitz, which is vulnerable to screens. Sean McDermott must figure out some way to account for Forte, but also to pressure Cutler. Wide receiver screens hurt our blitz in the loss to Dallas. I'm sure McDermott has a plan for that.
  • Sound special teams – We've had crucial errors in the two losses to the Bears on special teams. We must eliminate those errors and avoid penalties. The Eagles need to win the kicking game.

To read my complete Eagles-Bears preview, click here for the Fan-Demonium column.

-- Posted by Tommy Lawlor, 10:21 p.m., November 21

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