I don’t know who the Bears pissed off to draw the schedule they’ve drawn. They were put up as sacrificial lambs for the first Monday Night Football game in Detroit since the Ford invented the assembly line. They were sent over an ocean to play the Tampa Bay Bucs. Now they’re playing an electric Philadelphia in primetime. Have you ever met people from Philadelphia? They are loud in church. You give them a day to slam Yuenglings it’ll just be a good thing Frank Omiyale will be jumping the snap count from the bench.
WHY DO I LIKE THE CHICAGO BEARS THIS WEEK?
- I always like the Chicago Bears.
- I am a firm believer in the “let down game”. Rarely do you see a football team as well prepared and motivated as the Eagles were Sunday night against the Cowboys. Their coaches had two weeks to prepare and it showed. They simply can’t have that much gas in the tank for the Bears. If they do, the Bears better have on their running shoes.
- The Bears have two track record things going for them here: (1) they have historically played Vick as well as any defense in the league due primarily to the speed inside the body of the guy wearing #54 and (2) Andy Reid wants to throw the ball deep and Lovie has not let him, forcing Vick to sit in the pocket and execute the underneath routes that have not been his strong suit (Sunday night not withstanding).
- Until I see it, I don’t think the Eagles can stop a team from consistently running the ball and I think the Bears can run it as well as any team around. And while I respect the speed and talent of Lesean McCoy immensely, I think the Bears defense has recommitted to stopping the run of late and will continue that trend Monday night.
- I like the matchup of Andy Reid’s in-game decision making, a rookie punter and Devin Hester. I like that matchup a lot.
- If we were all waiting to evaluate the new Bears safeties, we won’t have to wait much longer. The Eagles love to hit their speed receivers (Jackson, Maclin) in stride on the slant pattern and it will be imperative for both of these safeties to take smart angles and make sure tackles. Conte should never stop muttering to himself one word: backpedal. If he keeps the game in front of him, the Bears will be in a good position to force an explosive offense off the field.
- The greatest mismatch on the field Monday night will be J’Marcus Webb vs. Trent Cole on the perimeter and it will be imperative for Martz & Tice to continue their approach of sliding protecting help his way. Cole and Jason Babin have the ability to wreck the game, especially if the Eagles are playing from ahead.
- Jason Peters returning to the left tackle position for the Eagles provided Mudd’s boys a boost Sunday night but that is where I expect the Bears to bring extra pressure in an effort to chase Michael Vick to his right. Julius Peppers has been good this year but he’s not had a dominant whistle-to-whistle performance since Week One. Someone has to spend Monday night in the backfield. I think it’ll be Orange Julius.
- It’s fascinating to go this deep into the preview and not mention Jay Cutler. Cutler has been somewhat relegated to an offensive afterthought by the sturdy, MVP season being had by Matt Forte. Even with a consistent running game against the Eagles, I think this one is going to come down to which quarterback makes the big third down toss late. And I think it’s going to be Cutler.
Chicago Bears 30, Philadelphia Eagles 27 (OT)
Note: There will be no Thursday column this week as I attend the funeral of my best friend’s aunt in New Jersey. We shall return Friday with the Weekend Show featuring interviews with Philadelphia Daily News beat writer Paul Domowitch and former Bears safety Cameron Worrell.