Relevant games in mid-to-late December are the most fun time to operate this site for two reasons: (1) Traffic numbers go through the roof and (2) Fans barely need the final whistle of Sunday’s game to begin thinking about the following Sunday’s game. Once the Detroit Lions pulled a Detroit Lions and lost to Baltimore, Bears fans became ravenously obsessed with the Philadelphia Eagles in primetime. And it is the most difficult match-up as the Bears defense will face all season.
Why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?
I always like the Chicago Bears.
- Here is the statistic I think will tell the story Sunday: touchdown percentage. That’s not a stat, you say? Sure it is. Philadelphia will have every opportunity to keep the ball away from Chicago by merely handing the thing to LeSean McCoy over and over again. Whichever team scores more touchdowns per possession wins. (I think no less than 4 TDs wins game.)
- There are two possible approaches for Trestman Sunday night. (1) Spread the Eagles out and attack a terrible secondary. (2) Rely on the run game and boys up front to keep the ball away from Chip Kelly’s offense. I would put the ball in the hands of Marshall, Jeffery and the Bennetts quickly to force these weak tacklers to tackle. Once that approach finds some success the run lanes will be girthy.
- Lance Briggs (see below).
- I do wonder about motivation. Whether or not Chip Kelly decides to rest his starters for any portion of the game Sunday night doesn’t matter. Eagles players will know that with a Cowboys win against the Redskins Sunday afternoon they will have NOTHING to play for Sunday night. I used to believe in this maxim when I gambled heavily on the NFL: if a good team is playing a game late in the season and they need the game more than their opponent, bet em. If the Eagles lack any intensity the Bears could jump them early.
- (Same could be said for the Bears. If Detroit manages to lose to a lifeless Giants team and the Packers win, the Bears will have very little to gain Sunday night.)
- Philadelphia has allowed three return touchdowns this season and are among the league’s worst coverage units week in and week out. I don’t expect Chip Kelly to allow the ball into Devin Hester’s hands (see quote below) but if he does, look out.
MATCH-UP OF REMARKABLE IMPORTANCE
- Jay Cutler vs. Turnovers. This is not a game where the Bears will be able to overcome Cutler squandering touchdown opportunities with misguided throws into the end zone, into double coverage. This is not a game where the Bears will be able to overcome Cutler handing the opponent six points in the second quarter. Cutler needs to maximize every possession, get every point imaginable and keep a clean turnover sheet or the Bears will be chasing the game late.
From CBS Philadelphia. Chip Kelly comments on how the Eagles approached Cordarrelle Paterson. Should give you a sense of what to expect from the Eagles as they prepare for the best ever.
There were some questionable decisions by the Eagles in Sunday’s game, including the one to kick the ball short on kickoffs, avoiding star returner Cordarrelle Patterson. Kelly defended his decision to keep it away from Patterson…“We’ve got the most dynamic returner in the league [Cordarrelle Patterson], that’s averaged over 34 yards a return. He’s returned two for touchdowns, one of them he took out from 109 yards deep,” Kelly said. “We could not—watching Alex [Henery] kick pre game and at half time, he was not putting the ball out of the end zone so they were going to be returned. Aside from really the last time, which came out to the 46, we ended up—their average start line was 29.8 when Cordarrelle returns it and their average start in our game, besides the onsides kick, was the 33.6 yard line. So we gave up 3.3 yards.”
MOST INTERESTING PLAYER ON THE FIELD
- Bears LB Lance Briggs. How healthy is he? How long will he last? Peanut Tillman started a bunch of games this season and was never healthy in any of them. The Bears rush defense has been a disaster since Briggs left the Redskins game but is it unfair to ask them to return to mediocrity or maybe better with his return from injury? If Briggs returns the Bears to only allowing about a 100 yards a game (as opposed to 200) they could find themselves in complete control Sunday night.
THIS VIDEO HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH FOOTBALL
Merry Christmas, all. And you are welcome. (This video is literally the entirety of the Michael McDonald Christmas record. If you don’t laugh at the 9 second mark, you don’t get Mikey McD’s thing.)
- LeSean McCoy will fail to break the 150 yards mark.
- Jay Cutler will throw for 379 yards.
- A new record will be set for least number of tackles.
WRAPPING IT UP IN A FEW SENTENCES
- The Bears make one play on defense. The Bears make one play on specials. And those two moments are difference in an entertaining primetime shootout.
- Chicago Bears 38, Philadelphia Eagles 37