The Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears will meet for the 41st time tomorrow at Soldier Field. The Eagles lead the all-time series 28-11-1. The Eagles defeated the Bears last season 24-20 at Soldier Field.
This time around a lot has changed. The Eagles have Michael Vick as their starting quarterback, LeSean McCoy as their running back and the Bears have Brian Urlacher healthy and Julius Peppers causing havoc on the defensive line.
Both teams are 7-3 and atop their divisions. WR Jeremy Maclin leads the Eagles receivers with 705 yards and seven touchdowns, LeSean McCoy has added six touchdowns rushing and Michael Vick has thrown 11 touchdown passes and rushed in for five touchdowns.
Vick has been almost mistake free this season, in seven games, he has zero interceptions and one fumble loss. The key to this game is shutting down Vick. He is so good on the run, whether running the ball or throwing it, he is just a freak.
For what its worth, the Bears are 3-0 all time against Michael Vick, but this season Vick is more dangerous than ever. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin have been great weapons for Vick and the Bears need to rattle Vick or he might be able to beat them for some big plays. Tim Jennings against DeSean Jackson is a key match-up that should be watched all day tomorrow.
The Bears defense will have to contain him and make sure they don’t make the big mistake Vick will be waiting for. They just need to play sound defense, so they won’t give up that big play.
The Bears offense might help their defense out if they can have success against the Eagles defense. The Eagles will be without NFL interception leader Asante Samuel. Jay Cutler might want to take advantage of that weakness on the Eagles defense. The running game looked solid against the Dolphins last week in Miami. If they can run the ball like they did last week, that will just open up the pass.
This game is huge for both teams playoff chances. The Bears can’t lose a fourth NFC game because if they do they will find it hard to land a wild card spot in the NFC. The Eagles didn’t look as ridiculous last week against the Giants, but they still put up 27 points against them. Just when you think you have figured them out they come out with some great play on a key play.
Brian Urlacher against Michael Vick
Urlacher will be all over the field tomorrow. He knows how big this game is. Michael Vick has shown how good of a player he is this season and Urlacher knows that. The middle field is Urlacher’s space. If he fails to defend that, he might be in for a long day. Urlacher has to play his best game tomorrow against Michael Vick.
Matt Forte against the Eagles defense
Forte had his most complete in Miami last Thursday since week one against Detroit. He needs to keep the Bears offense on the field to give the Bears defense a break from containing Michael Vick. The Bears have improved their third down offense and Matt Forte has been better since the improvement. Expect the Bears to come out running and Matt Forte will have to run hard if the Bears want to win this one.
Bears receivers against Eagles backup CB Joselio Hanson
As reported by the Chicago Tribune, Eagles CB Asante Samuel has been ruled out of this game and Joselio Hanson will get the start in his place. The Bears need to take advantage of Samuel’s absence. Earl Bennett, Devin Aromashodu and Devin Hester will all get time against 5’9″ Hanson and Cutler should pick on him all day long.
Players Who Will Step Up:
1) Devin Hester- He has been great all season on special teams. Expect him to be a beast on special teams and offense tomorrow. If the Eagles choose to kick him the ball, watch out.
Prediction: 4 catches, 45 yards, one touchdown. Good stats on special teams.
2) Lance Briggs- He has been solid all season long. He will be pumped and ready to shut down Michael Vick and the Eagles.
Prediction: 10 tackles, one interception.
3) Jay Cutler- I have never put Jay Cutler in this segment. I feel he will come out and prove his critics wrong and have a great game. A good running game will only help him, as long as he refrains from throws off his back foot.
Prediction: 20/29, 200 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions.
This game is huge for the NFC playoff picture. The game honestly can go either way. If the Bears run the ball on offense and win the time of possession battle that will only help the defense that has to contain Michael Vick. If the Bears defense can’t stop Michael Vick, this game will turn into a shootout quickly. I don’t know if the Bears offense has what it takes to keep up with the Eagles powerful offense.
I have picked the Bears every game this season, but Michael Vick is just to good. If the Bears do pull it out it will be because of QB Jay Cutler, I can promise you that.
Eagles 24, Bears 21.
The weather forecast for tomorrow’s game is 43°F