The Matchup: Eagles Vs. Bears


THE BIG PICTURE

If the Cowboys lose to the Redskins, the Eagles can clinch the division with a win against Chicago. If the Cowboys beat the Redskins, the only thing on the line for the Eagles is potential seeding. In that scenario, regardless of Sunday night’s result, the Eagles would still have to beat the Cowboys in Week 17 to earn the NFC East title

Kelly says he’s playing his starters no matter what. If Dallas wins at 1, we’ll find out if that’s really the case.

Meanwhile, the game could be “meaningless” for the Bears too if the Lions lose and the Packers win earlier in the day. Head coach Marc Trestman hasn’t ruled out the possibility of sitting starters in that scenario.

Chicago could clinch the NFC North with a win combined with losses by both Detroit and Green Bay.

Here is how the Eagles’ offense matches up with the Bears’ defense:

 Yards Per PlayPoints Per GameDVOA (FB Outsiders)
Eagles Offense6.3 (2nd)26.0 (7th)19.5% (3rd)
Bears Defense6.0 (29th)27.9 (28th)5.5% (22nd)

And the Eagles’ defense against the Bears’ offense:

 Yards Per PlayPoints Per GameDVOA (FB Outsiders)
Bears Offense6.1 (3rd)29.0 (2nd)16.1% (4th)
Eagles Defense5.5 (19th)24.9 (17th)8.0% (25th)

Note: Click here for an explanation of DVOA.

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EAGLES RUSHING OFFENSE

 YPCFB Outsiders (DVOA)
Eagles Rushing Offense5.0 (1st)20.1% (1st)
Bears Rushing Defense5.2 (32nd)7.2% (31st)

On paper, this is the biggest mismatch of the game and an area where the Eagles should dominate. LeSean McCoy is the NFL’s leading rusher with 1,343 yards. Among the 42 running backs with at least 100 carries, only DeMarco Murray (5.5) has a higher YPC average than McCoy (5.0). The Eagles’ running back needs to average 85.0 yards per game in the final two weeks to break Wilbert Montgomery’s franchise record for most yards in a season.

McCoy said this week that he and the guys up front want to carry the offense against the Bears. Chicago is the only team in the NFL allowing more than 5.0 yards per carry.

The Bears play a 4-3 with starting ends Shea McClellin and Julius Peppers. The tackles are Corey Wootton and Stephen Paea. Like most teams, they’ll rotate in their backups.

At linebacker, Chicago goes with rookie Jon Bostic in the middle. James Anderson mans the strong side, and veteran Lance Briggs could return from a shoulder injury, but he’s missed the last seven weeks. If Briggs can’t go, it’ll be rookie Khaseem Greene.

When asked to identify what’s gone wrong for the Bears’ run defense, McCoy pointed to poor angles and poor tackling.

The Eagles will start the same five offensive linemen for the 15th straight game. Zach Ertz played more snaps than Brent Celek last week, but Celek is a far superior run blocker.

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EAGLES PASSING OFFENSE

 Completion PercentageYPA20+FB Outsiders (DVOA)
Nick Foles62.0% (16th)9.02 (1st)71 (1st)*27.6% (6th)
Bears Passing Defense60.7% (15th)7.6 (22nd)50 (22nd)3.8% (14th)

* Team stat, not individual stat.

Foles threw for 428 yards, three touchdowns and one interception against the Vikings, but lacked consistency and left some plays on the field. Having said that, he still leads the league in yards per attempt (9.02) and passer rating (117.0).

DeSean Jackson has already set career highs with 75 catches and 1,275 yards. Three receivers rank top-10 in both receiving yards and yards per catch: Calvin Johnson, Josh Gordon and Jackson. He’s coming off a monster game in which he caught 10 balls for 195 yards and a score.

Riley Cooper is third in yards per catch (18.1) and has had a career year with 41 grabs for 743 yards.

The Bears’ starting corners are eight-year veteran Tim Jennings and Zach Bowman. The safeties are third-year starters Major Wright and Chris Conte. Chicago has 17 interceptions on the season, sixth-most.

The Eagles’ offensive line was up-and-down in pass protection last week. Lane Johnson, Jason Peters and Todd Herremans all had some issues.

The Bears are dead last in the league with 26 sacks through 14 games. Peppers has 6.5, and McClellin has 3.5. Anderson is the most common blitzer. He’s got three sacks on the season.

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EAGLES RUSHING DEFENSE

 YPCFB Outsiders (DVOA)
Bears Rushing Offense4.6 (4th)1.9% (11th)
Eagles Rushing Defense3.8 (4th)-8.2% (14th)

This is the strength of Billy Davis’ team. It certainly helped not having to face Adrian Peterson last week, but opponents are averaging just 3.8 yards per carry against the Eagles. That’s the fourth-best mark in the NFL.

The starting defensive line of Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan and Cedric Thornton has been outstanding. DeMeco Ryans is 10th in the league with 116 tackles to go along with four sacks and a pair of interceptions. Mychal Kendricks has 34 tackles in three games (per team stats) since returning from his knee injury.

Matt Forte is having a great year with 1,200 yards (third) an average YPC of 4.7. He’s one of the most versatile backs in the league with 66 catches for 522 yards.

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EAGLES PASSING DEFENSE

 Completion PercentageYPA20+FB Outsiders (DVOA)
Jay Cutler63.9% (11th)7.34 (12th)*47 (13th)*31.5% (5th)
Eagles Passing Defense60.9% (19th)7.4 (18th)55 (27th)20.1% (27th)

* Team stat, not individual stat.

If the Eagles lose Sunday, it’ll likely be because of this matchup. Chicago has the fifth-ranked passing offense in the NFL, per Football Outsiders. And the Eagles’ pass defense ranks 27th.

Jay Cutler has tremendous weapons to work with. Alshon Jeffery has exploded as one of the top receivers in the game and leads the Bears with 1,265 yards on 80 catches. Brandon Marshall has a team-high 90 receptions for 1,185 yards and 10 touchdowns. The duo has combined for 33 catches of 20+ yards. Tight end Martellus Bennett has 59 grabs for 659 yards and five scores.

The Eagles’ secondary, meanwhile, is coming off its worst game of the year. Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams will play the left and right sides, respectively. Brandon Boykin has been cleared from a concussion and will man the slot. The Eagles lead the league in pass interference penalties with 13.

At safety, Earl Wolff could return from a knee injury, but the Eagles are still expected to go with a rotation alongside Nate Allen. Patrick Chung has been “in a little bit of a slump” according to Davis. He’ll have to play better than he did last week for the Eagles to have a chance of slowing down the Bears’ passing attack.

Chicago has only given up 24 sacks on the season, third-fewest. The same five starters – LT Jermon Bushrod, LG Matt Slauson, center Roberto Garza, RG Kyle Long and RT Jordan Mills – have played every snap together.

The Eagles had moments where they pressured Matt Cassel last week, but they never made him uncomfortable, and he was able to get rid of the ball quickly to open receivers.

Trent Cole and Connor Barwin are tied for a team-high with five sacks. Cox has a team-high 21 hurries.

Overall, Cutler is completing 70.4 percent of his attempts against the blitz.

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THE ESSENTIALS

Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. EST on NBC. Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth will have the call. Sports Insights has the Eagles as 4-point favorites – 52 percent of the money is on the Bears, 48 percent on the Birds.

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