After a strong first week of bold predictions, it’s time to take a closer look at tonight’s showdown at Soldier Field. Last week, I accurately predicted that Carson Wentz would throw for 200 yards, 2TD’s and 0 INT..(which deserves a gold medal) while falling 8 yards shy of a Barner breakout prediction.
Still, there’s no prizes for “almost” so we head into week 2 with a score of 1/5 (although the Wentz prediction is worth 800 in my mind). Here are my five bold predictions for Doug Pederson’s first Monday Night Football matchup as a Head oach.
Wentz does the double:
Carson Wentz made Eagles history last week as phenomenal debut stole the show. The Bears Defense will bring a new set of challenges, but the Eagles Offense will only become more dangerous as the likes of Dorial Green-Beckham, Bryce Treggs and Josh Huff find their niche and work their way into the rotation.
If Kyle Fuller is sidelined for the Bears, Carson Wentz will have more than a few favorable matchups at his disposal, not to mention Trey Burton, the athletic pass-catching tight end..who he built an impressive rapport with through Training camp.
My first bold prediction is for Wentz to shine under the the Monday Night Football spotlight, throwing for 250 yards, 3 touchdowns and a pick.
Superior run game:
The Eagles were able to rush for 134 rushing yards against the Browns..but Ryan Mathews, the featured back in this Offense, averaged just 3.5 yards per carry. The birds sometimes struggled to establish a consistent threat on the ground, taking Mathews out in favor of Barner..which worked well, until they put Mathews in a play later instead of riding the hot hand.
The Bears allowed Lamar Miller to hit 100 yards on 28 carries and with a committee as versatile as the Eagles, that’s a huge positive. Darren Sproles caught two of the five passes thrown his way against the Browns, but if he can improve his efficiency, as he has a tendency to do in MNF games, then the Eagles have yet another level to exploit.
Trey Burton also has the potential to lineup as a fullback in certain looks, which could really help the shape and versatility of the backfield. With all this in mind, I’m predicting that the Eagles will rush for a combined 150 yards and a touchdown.
Set to make his first NFL start, Trey Burton is replacing the injured Zach Ertz..but as pointed out in an article earlier this week, the Offense could open up even more with the athletic Florida product acting as yet another weapon for Wentz to utilize.
Burton had a fantastic Training camp and a strong preseason, just as he did a year ago..but with the spotlight now on him in an Offense that plays perfectly to his skill set and build, Burton could well enjoy a strong game as the Bears focus their attention elsewhere.
I’m predicting Burton to receive for 60 yards and his first NFL touchdown.
The “Man-dog” feasts:
The Eagles sacked RGIII three times in a game where seven players were sometimes trying to stop the Eagles four man rush. Against a Bears O-line that allowed 5 sacks on Jay Cutler and struggled to open holes for Jeremy Langford, limiting his production to just 57 yards, the Eagles should be able to establish an early dominance..but one man in particular will be licking his lips, Fletcher Cox.
Four tackles and a sack sum up a strong first game of the year for Cox..but like any dangerous Shark, he can smell blood in the water..and with the Bears leaking pressure all game and Cutler having a passer rating of 22.9 in the second half, the Eagles will know if they can do the same tonight, the game will be theirs to dictate..and that all starts with the team’s most dominant defensive player.
The bold prediction? Fletcher Cox will rack up seven tackles and two sacks on Jay Cutler.
Green Goblin flies into Soldier field:
Another Eagle making his first start tonight will be seventh round pick Jalen Mills, in the absence of Leodis McKelvin. A tough preseason after a dominant training camp raised question marks, especially after the trade that sent Eric Rowe to New England..but when dropped in against the Browns last week, Mills held his own and looked right at home in Schwartz’ 4-3 attacking scheme.
He will have some tough opposition tonight, with Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White both seeming like receivers who will jump at the chance to school a seventh-round pick, but like we said earlier today, Mills is no ordinary late-round pick.
I’m expecting Mills to take to the deep end with ease and find his feet early on. Jim Schwartz said that his development played a large role in the decision to trade Rowe, so now it’s time to see just how far along he is.
My bold prediction for Mills’ first start as an Eagle is 5 tackles, 2 passes defensed and a pick.
Mandatory Photo Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports