Friday, November 26, 2010
Frankly, this will be just the second quality team the Bears have faced all season. And the Eagles have plenty of quality. Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin on the offensive side; Asante Samuel (who may miss the game), Trent Cole, Quintin Mikell and others on the defensive side. They've won five of six overall and have taken over first in the NFC East.
This game could have HUGE implications for the Bears' playoff hopes. If they end up battling for a Wild Card spot with the Eagles, this game will go a long way toward determining which team has a better record and would obviously determine the head-to-head tiebreaker should they finish with the same record. Additionally, should the Bears and Packers split their two games and finish in a tie and with the same divisional record (both of which are very plausible), the next tie-breaker is record against common opponents; the Packers have already beaten the Eagles this season. So with a win on Sunday, the Bears could potentially grab sole possession of first (the Packers have to travel to Atlanta); a loss could knock them behind the Packers and right into the thick of the Wild Card race against teams like the Saints, Bucs and Giants.
The Bears and Eagles matched up on a Sunday night last year and the Eagles pulled out a 24-20 victory.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Urlacher vs. Vick. I doubt the Bears will choose to use Urlacher as a QB spy because I'm not sure any linebacker in the NFL can keep up with him anyway. But Urlacher will usually be the first line of defense AFTER the defensive line when Vick chooses to run, and it should be a fun battle to watch.
Cutler doing his best Vick impression. The Eagles love to blitz, and Cutler will need to continue to show his mobility when the pressure comes. Obviously getting rid of the ball quickly is another way to deal with an aggressive defense, but chances are Cutler will have to make a few plays with his feet.
Try to limit the big play. What scares me about this game is that the Bears are better against the run than the pass, and the Eagles are more than willing to abandon the run if it's not working. With big play threats Jackson and Maclin, along with the solid Jason Avant, the Eagles have had their way with several teams in the passing game. The Bears secondary must try to limit the big play and keep Jackson and Maclin from getting behind the defense.