Eagles Keys to the game: Week 2 versus Chicago Bears

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The Eagles are set to play their first game under the Monday Night Lights with Doug Pederson as their Head Coach and as impressive as the win over Cleveland was, the Bears are a slightly different beast. Here are keys to the game which if executed, should allow both Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson to tame their second consecutive NFL team.

Make life tough for Jay Cutler:
Against the Texans in week one, Jay Cutler was sacked five times. Even though his completion percentage when under pressure (54.3%) was impressive, he has a reputation to make bad decisions and turn the ball over once the hits start coming and the pressure levels increase.

Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie, the Bears Offensive Tackles, surrendered a lot of pressure last week, ending week one with a 42.6 and 34.0 PFF grade. The heavy rotation of Eagles Defensive ends should prove a tough task for the struggling Offensive Tackles..and considering the Eagles sacked RGIII three times despite seven people protecting him at times, the Defensive line should feast here..which is important not just from a pressure/sack perspective, but from giving a depleted secondary as much help as possible against an impressive Bears receiving corps.

 

Punish the Bears Secondary:
The Bears gave up 23 points against Houston in week one, but the 231 receiving yards tell a different story. Rookie receiver Will Fuller led his team in receiving with 107 yards and a touchdown, but DeAndre Hopkins was still vital,  racking up 54 yards and a TD pass.

The Bears are likely to be without Kyle Fuller once again, which leaves Bryce Callahan and Tracy Porter to hold the fort. With a matchup nightmare in Dorial Green-Beckham, who should naturally see an increase in snaps, an in-form Nelson Agholor who can create separation with ease and a dominant Jordan Matthews, the Eagles have enough variety in receiving styles to really keep the pressure on the Bears cornerbacks..not to mention the addition of Trey Burton.

Carson Wentz found confidence in his receivers against the Browns, showing that he wasn’t afraid to air it out down the field and drop it into the bucket. If he can do the same against the Bears where the pressure he’s facing should be less substantial, the Eagles could be primed to walk away from Soldier Field with a victory.

 

Versatility:
The Bears Defense was inconsistent at best against the Texans. From A Tracy Porter interception in the first quarter to countless screen passes that went under-the-radar, the Bears struggled to contain the Texans Offensive weapons, especially Lamar Miller.

The Bears gave up 10.1 more rushing yards than their average last year, but it took a heavy 35 attempts to do so. The Eagles rushed 34 times against the Browns and while they succeeded in balancing the Offense and moving the chains, struggled in keeping momentum.

If Ryan Mathews can average over 4 yards per carry as opposed to his 3.5 against the Browns, the Eagles have a great shot at controlling the tempo. However, they will need the presence of Kenjon Barner, who averaged over 10 yards per carry last week and the pass catching ability of Darren Sproles if they are to outwit this Bears Defense.

With screen passes proving to be a weakness for the Bears, Wentz will need to utilize Sproles and Barner more often, especially if Mathews is unable to really pick up consistent momentum as he did last week. If the backfield can add yet another level to their gameplan, it could really give them an edge over the Bears D.

Secondary success:
The Eagles cornerbacks had a mixed game against the Browns. While McKelvin stood out before his injury, just as Jalen Mills did after it, Ron Brooks struggled heavily and was lucky not to be exploited by RGIII, and Nolan Carroll failed to find a rhythm against Corey Coleman.

With Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal and Kevin White all averaging more than 10 yards per reception last week and Leodis McKelvin sidelined with injury, the three-deep Eagles cornerback corps will have their backs against the wall on Monday night.

It’s likely that Jaylen Watkins and Malcolm Jenkins can help out when needed, but the pressure will really fall on Ron Brooks..who could be tasked with covering Eddie Royal in nickel looks. Jalen Mills could be facing Alshon Jeffery..which is by no means an easy task, but as Eric Rowe was birthed by a trial by fire in 2015..it’s something that the seventh round pick will have to go through if he is to emerge as a starter one day.

If the weakened Eagles CB corps can somewhat limit the amount of passing yards and looks available for Jay Cutler, it will be a successful night..but the pressure will be on against an Offense that will separate the men from the boys.

 

 

Mandatory Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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