The Philadelphia Eagles take on the very offensively talented Chicago Bears on Monday night. This will be a true test of how dominant the Eagles defense can become under defensive coordinator, Jim Schwartz, as it takes on a very solid offensive team.
The biggest task the Eagles must accomplish is applying pressure to Bears quarterback, Jay Cutler, releasing pressure from the team’s depleted cornerback group. The Eagles will most likely be without No. 1 cornerback, Leodis McKelvin, for this matchup and the Eagles 2016 seventh-round pick, Jalen Mills, will fill in as his replacement in the starting lineup.
The Bears receiving corps of Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White, and Eddie Royal is a tough trio for the Eagles defensive backs to face. This is why the Eagles pass-rush will be relied upon mostly to control the game. Luckily for the Eagles, their pass-rushers are poised to feast on Monday.
Jeffery led the Bears in receiving this past Sunday. He caught four passes for 105 receiving yards. Royal was the only pass-catcher to score for the Bears, while catching four passes for 57 yards. White struggled in his first career game. He caught three passes for 34 yards on seven targets.
Cutler was sacked a total of five times versus the Houston Texans this past Sunday. Cutler was under pressure on 54.3% of his snaps in week one, which was the highest rate in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus.
Bears offensive tackles, Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie, are the weakest links along the team’s offensive lines. Both tackles graded horribly versus the Texans with Leno Jr. finishing with a 42.6 overall grade and Massie with a 34.0 grade. Leno Jr. was the Bears starting left tackle in 2015, but also struggled finishing with a 46.1 grade on the season.
The Eagles edge rushers of Brandon Graham, Connor Barwin, and Vinny Curry are poised to thrive in their pass-rush roles on Monday night. The Eagles sacked Browns quarterback, Robert Griffin III, three times this past Sunday. That number should increase with the offensive tackle play of the Bears.
The Bears interior offensive lineman are the strength of the unit. Josh Sitton at left guard, rookie Cody Whitehair at center, and Kyle Long at right guard give the Eagles defensive tackles, Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan, a tough matchup.
The Bears rushing attack was very limited this past Sunday versus the Texans. They finished with 20 overall carries for 73 yards and a touchdown. The team’s lead back, Jeremy Langford, finished with 17 carries for 57 yards and a score.
The Eagles played the run well too this past Sunday despite allowing the Browns to rush for 120 yards. They limited the Browns bell cow, Isaiah Crowell, to 62 rushing yards on 12 carries. Griffin’s mobility shined through as he carried the ball five times for 37 rushing yards, but the Eagles won’t have to respect Cutler taking off and rushing as they did for Griffin.
The Bears finished 23rd in passing offense in 2015, while finishing 11th in rushing. The team lost stud running back, Matt Forte, this offseason to the New York Jets and are still getting acclimated to Langford leading the charge.
One overlooked factor heading into the game is – Cutler’s success versus Schwartz’s coached teams. Schwartz was previously the Detroit Lions head coach from 2009-2013 and beat Cutler three times in that time span. From 2009-2014 (Schwartz was the Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator when Bills played the Bears), Cutler has beaten Schwartz’s teams seven times, while throwing for 15 touchdowns to five interceptions.
The Bears offense will be a solid test for the Eagles defense. There’s areas where the Eagles have advantage, especially in the pass-rush department, while the Bears wide receiver trio will be a real test for the Eagles’ defensive backs.