The Philadelphia Eagles take on the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. The game will take place at 8:30 p.m. ET. The Eagles’ offense faces a favorable matchup versus the Bears’ defense.
The Bears are continuing to improve on the defensive side of the ball under defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio, in his second season with the team. Last season the defense improved noticeably, but still struggled keeping receivers out of the end zone.
The Bears gave up the 25th most touchdowns out of 32 teams in 2015. The Bears also finished 30th in interceptions as well. These numbers bode well for the Eagles’ passing attack, especially with a rookie quarterback in Carson Wentz making his first road start.
The Bears faced the Houston Texans this past Sunday in a 23-14 losing effort. Texans quarterback, Brock Osweiler, had a successful day throwing the ball in his first career start for the team. He completed 22 of his passes on 35 attempts for 231 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. The Texans 2016 first-round pick wide receiver, Will Fuller, finished with five receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown, leading the team in receiving yards.
The team’s front seven only sacked Osweiler twice in his debut with the Texans, which was impressive for the Texans’ offensive line considering the fact their starting left tackle and best offensive lineman, Duane Brown, was out with injury.
The Bears secondary missed their best defensive back in Kyle Fuller and he’s been limited in practice throughout the week. His status is questionable heading into Monday night’s matchup with the Eagles. Fuller’s health, whether he plays or not (since he won’t be 100%), bodes well for Eagles No. 1 receiver, Nelson Agholor, as he looks to build off his week one momentum.
Jordan Matthews, who’s primarily the Eagles slot wide receiver, faces Bryce Callahan in the nickel. Callahan finished with a 78.5 overall grade for his week one performance according to profootballfocus.com, and was the site’s 19th overall nickel cornerback in 2015. Tracy Porter, the Bears’ No. 2 cornerback, struggled mightily covering Fuller this past Sunday and will face of mix of Matthews, Dorial Green-Beckham, and Josh Huff on the outside. Porter finished with a 39.4 overall grade (lowest on the Bears defense) on Sunday and an overall grade of 50.0 in 2015. He’ll be the cornerback Wentz could pick on the most, also including rookie cornerback, Deiondre’ Hall, who would replace Fuller in the starting lineup. Hall, who attended Northern Iowa, and Wentz know each other well as the two faced off in games the last two seasons of their collegiate careers.
Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman, the Bears’ inside linebacker duo, are arguably the best inside linebacker duo of any 3-4 defense in the NFL. Freeman finished with an 88.6 overall grade, while Trevathan finished with an 80.1 grade for their play on Sunday. The duo took Texans tight ends, Ryan Griffin and C.J. Fiedorowicz, out of the game, so Trey Burton and Brent Celek will have their work cut out for them. Zach Ertz is still missing practice and not expected to play on Monday.
The Bears also finished 23rd in run defense last season. The Eagles rushing attack was inconsistent last season, but started the 2016 season well versus the Cleveland Browns. The Eagles rushing attack this past Sunday was a collective effort and finished with 34 carries for 133 rushing yards and a touchdown.
The Bears run defense struggled versus the Texans. Texans running back, Lamar Miller, rushed for 106 yards in his first game as a member of the team. Miller managed majority of the workload as the Texans finished with 35 carries for 129 rushing yards.
The Eagles offense should perform well versus the Bears. The passing game, along with the rushing attack, should balance each other out throughout the matchup. Doug Pederson knew heading into the season that the first two weeks of it were favorable advantages when he decided to give Wentz the starting job. We’ll see if that theory proves to become true on Monday night.