Here’s what the national media are saying about Sunday night’s Eagles-Bears matchup.
ESPN.com’s John Clayton on what he’ll be watching:
These aren’t the “Monsters of the Midway,” they’ve been puppies against the run. Chicago now faces a Philadelphia team that has a fast-paced running offense. The Eagles lead the league with 152.9 rushing yards per game, and starting RB LeSean McCoy averages 5.0 yards an attempt. If the Bears surrender 150-plus rushing yards, this may be a hard win to come by.
Chris Ryan of Grantland has Chip Kelly as his athlete of the year:
Chip Kelly arrived in Philadelphia and got Mike Vick eating salads, had everyone else drinking personalized protein shakes, and ran exhausting 11-on-11 practice drills while blasting the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack. The NFL coaching fraternity can be a pretty dour collection of struggle-faced hardasses. One thing that unites the Mike Shanahans, the Mike Munchaks, the Bill Belichicks, Jim Schwartzs, and Mike McCarthys, is a feeling that the presence of the media and even the fans (I know, I’m projecting) is a distraction from their gridiron fight against Satan to pass into heaven and rest at the angel feet of Vince Lombardi. Chip Kelly knows that heaven is a place on Earth, and his offense is the house band. For him, life’s too short, NFL games take too long to start, referees are hilariously too slow, and press conferences are for LOLs.
Chip Kelly didn’t do anything athletic all year, but nobody in sports brought me more joy.
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com predicts a 31-21 Bears victory:
The Eagles might not need this game to clinch the NFC East by the time they kick off, depending on what Dallas does earlier in the day. The Bears will need it. They are playing consecutive road games, which is tough. But I think Jay Cutler responds with a big day against the Eagles’ suspect pass defense.
Andy Benoit of The MMQB previews Eagles-Bears:
LeSean McCoy might be the best outside runner in the NFL, but the Bears, somewhat quietly, have an excellent outside runner of their own in Matt Forte. The sixth-year veteran doesn’t quite have McCoy’s speed or change-of-direction quickness, but he’s sufficient in these realms and has keen patience and vision. Marc Trestman’s system does a good job at manufacturing perimeter rushing lanes, particularly by involving Alshon Jeffery on fake (or “ghost”) reverse action.
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com goes with the Eagles, 36-29:
All right, time for some interesting nugs of gold:
» This matchup pits the two players with the most touches in the NFL this season — Matt Forte (324) and Shady McCoy (314) — against each other.
» The Bears’ run defense has allowed 152.4 yards per game, at a clip of 5.2 yards per carry.
» Nick Foles has 23 touchdown passes and two interceptions this season.
» Alshon Jeffery averages 14.3 yards per touch this season, most in the NFL among qualifiers (he’s on pace for 100 touches).
» The Eagles had allowed 21 points or less for nine games in a row — and then they coughed up 48 to Matt Cassel and Matt Asiata. Matt Asiata.
So basically we’re saying this is going to be a shootout. Once the Eagles get a lead, the Bears’ run defense will fail to hold the fort … or even build a fort to begin with. Philly wins.
Doug Farrar of SI.com on the matchup:
The Bears will look to roll against an Eagles defense that was exploited by Minnesota’s choice to use multiple formations, creating blocking mismatches at every turn. Head coach Marc Trestman has used receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey in some very creative ways this season, and Philly’s secondary will struggle to counter when Jay Cutler goes up top and allows Marshall and Jeffrey to win physical battles in coverage.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk goes with the Eagles, 31-24:
Even with linebacker Lance Briggs expected to be back for the Bears, Chicago doesn’t have the defense to slow down LeSean McCoy and the rest of the Philly offense.