Philadelphia Eagles vs. Chicago Bears Semi-Coherent Preview

Aug 27, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) warms up prior to a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 27, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) warms up prior to a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports /

A preview of the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears

Game one of the Carson Wentz era went better than most Philadelphia Eagles fans could have ever hoped. The rookie passer looked poised, and displayed good arm strength, accuracy, and decision making. If he can repeat that performance every week, the Philadelphia Eagles may have their franchise quarterback.

On the other hand, last week’s game was against the Cleveland Browns, and they may be the worst team in the NFL. This week’s opponent is the Chicago Bears, and while they aren’t projected to be a playoff team, they will probably offer the Eagles and their young quarterback with a tougher test.

Chicago Bears

Record: 0-1

Coach: John Fox

The last time they met

More from Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears were scheduled for a Sunday night game in week 16 of the 2013 season. Thanks to events earlier that day, the game was of great importance to the Bears, but was essentially meaningless for the Eagles. (Win or lose, they’d still need to beat the Cowboys the following week to make the playoffs).

With that in mind, it would have been understandable if the Eagles showed little energy while the Bears played as if their lives depended on it.

To everyone’s surprise, the Philadelphia Eagles were the team that played as if it were a must-win game. The Bears’ rushing defense was thought to be poor, but it was tough to envision just how bad it was. LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown, and Chris Polk all took turns gashing the Bears’ defense for big gains. By game’s end, McCoy had pretty much wrapped up the league’s rushing title.

The result was a Eagles victory that would set them up for a division-clinching win against the Cowboys the following week.

What’s the deal with the Bears

Philadelphia Eagles
Sep 11, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) throws during the first quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

The Bears started off the season with a 23-14 loss to the Texans. The Bears picked off a pass on their first defensive possession, but that was the high point as far as their defense was concerned. Brock Osweiler threw for 231 yards against them, which provides hope that the Eagles’ inexperienced quarterback can have similar success.

Offensively, the Bears are once again led by mediocre quarterback Jay Cutler. Cutler’s numbers always look decent, but despite a wealth of talent, he’s never been considered among the league’s best quarterbacks. (Except at throwing interceptions. He’s led the league in that category twice in his career.)

Reason to hate the Bears

The Bears are one of those teams that the national media seems to want to succeed. It feels like that many members of the media feel that football peaked in the days of Mike Ditka and Walter Payton, and that any time the Bears succeed, it’s a callback to the good old days before instant replay and concussion protocols.

Featured Bears player: Alshon Jeffery

Philadelphia Eagles
Sep 1, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) warms up before the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Chicago Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

The Bears’ offense has been inconsistent over the past few seasons, but it’s hard to place much of that blame on Alshon Jeffery. The Bears’ top receiver has two 1,000+ receiving yard seasons over the past three years, and he likely would have surpassed that total last year if not for an injury that kept him out of six games.

Unfortunately, with Leodis McKelvin questionable for the game, there’s a good chance that rookie cornerback Jalen Mills will have to cover Jeffery for much of the game. Mills impressed the coaching staff in training camp, but Jeffery is a tough test for an experienced veteran. Asking a rookie cover him might be an invitation for disaster.

Key Eagles storyline

The Eagles’ pass rush was slow to get going last week. While they began to apply more pressure in the second half, it felt like Robert Griffin III had plenty of time to throw in the first. Cutler tends to get rattled if you hit him a few times, so it’s important that they get in his face early and often.

Tweets of non-importance

Each week, I’ll survey Twitter to find some of the best (by which I mean worst) tweets from fans of the opposing team.

I just hope “Carlton Wentz” can withstand the pressure.

Sounds like some Bears might be a bit sick of their quarterback

The Wentz watch

Chances are, public opinion of rookie quarterback Carson Wentz will sway throughout the season. I’ll periodically check how Eagles fans are feeling about the young signal caller.

Philadelphia Eagles
Sep 11, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) celebrates after running back Ryan Mathews (not pictured) scores a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s tough to think that Wentz’ debut could have gone any better. Not only did he lead the Eagles to a win, but he also had his name mentioned by the president, and perhaps not coincidentally, has the top selling jersey in the NFL this week.

Elsewhere in the NFL

The Washington Redskins are receiving a lot of grief for not letting high-priced cornerback Josh Norman cover Steelers receiver Antonio Brown on Monday night. The Redskins apparently like to line their corners up on one side of the field and not worry about individual matchups. Therefore, Brown was covered by Bashaud Breeland for most of the night, and he had 126 yards and a touchdown.

Philadelphia Eagles
Aug 11, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Washington Redskins defensive back Josh Norman (24) shown on the field after the game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons defeated the Redskins 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

In 2011, the Eagles did something similar with their high-priced cornerback free agent Nnamdi Asomugha. It was a lot of fun watching the likes of Larry Fitzgerald put up huge numbers while Asomugha was on the other side of the field.

The Eagles’ defensive coordinator at the time was Juan Castillo. He explained – much like Redskins coordinator Joe Barry did on Monday – that it’s difficult to have one corner simply shadow a particular receiver. He says it makes it tough for the other corners to get lined up properly.

Here’s the thing: Castillo wasn’t a good coordinator, and was deservedly fired the next season. Figuring out how to stop a team is supposed to be hard, and fans don’t want to hear excuses. Fans want coordinators to figure out a way to have your star corner shut down the opponent’s star receiver.

Next: Section 215 Staff Predictions Week Two


The Bears defense isn’t great, but it should be at least a little better than the Browns’. As a result, I don’t think Wentz will find things as easy as he did last week, especially considering Zach Ertz may miss the game. However, I think the defense will compensate. Jeffery is a tough matchup, but hopefully a combination of double teams and pressure from the pass rush will limit the damage.

Eagles 20 – Bears 14