Know your Eagles enemy: The Chicago Bears

The trade deadline has come and gone, please join me in welcoming …

Genard Avery.

In all seriousness, Avery brings a much needed edge to this defense and the pass rush.  You can find out more about Avery here.

The Eagles come back home after a three game road trip where they went 1-2, putting their record at 4-4.

They host the 3-4 Chicago Bears on Sunday. Before we dive into the game, let’s check out their off-season and regular season to date:

Key additions: 

Running back David Montgomery (third round draft pick),
Safety HaHa Clinton-Dix (free agency – Redskins),
Cornerback Buster Skrine (free agency – Jets),
Running back Mike Davis (free agency – Seahawks),
Wide receiver Cordarrelle Paterson (free agency – Patriots)

Key departures: 

Running back Jordan Howard (trade – Eagles [haha losers]),
Safety Adrian Amos (free agency – Packers),
Cornerback Bryce Callahan (free agency – Broncos),
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio (head coach Broncos)

Through their seven games of the season, the Bears have the current ranks:

  • 27th in points per game (18.3)
  • 29th in yards per game (281.4)
  • 29th in pass yards per game (198.3)
  • 26th in rush yards per game (83.1)
  • 4th in points allowed per game (17.4)
  • 4th in yards allowed per game (316.6)
  • 10th in passing yards allowed per game (230.6)
  • 6th in rushing yards allowed per game (86.0)

As good as this Bears defense is, this team goes as the offense goes, and that offense has not been going.

The Number Two Overall Pick in the 2017 NFL Draft

That would be Mitchell Trubisky. The third year quarterback is 3-3 on the season (he missed one game, which the Bears lost) and is having, arguably, his worst year of his career.

Completion percentage:

  • 2017 – 59.4%
  • 2018 – 66.6%
  • 2019 – 64.6%

Yards per game:

  • 2017 – 182.8
  • 2018 – 230.2
  • 2019 – 182.0

QBR:

  • 2017 – 31.6
  • 2018 – 70.8
  • 2019 – 31.8

2018 was coach Matt Nagy’s first year with the Bears and it looked like he and Trubisky were the perfect pair. However, this season has brought Trubisky back to his rookie year days with John Fox, and that’s not good.

In his rookie year, Trubisky played in 12 games and this year he’s played in six. Let’s do some extrapolating!

If we take Trubisky’s numbers and simply times them all by two and get his projections for twelve games (rookie stats in parenthesis):

  • Passing yards: 2,184 (2,193)
  • Touchdowns: 10 (7)
  • Interceptions: 6 (7)
  • Completions: 252 (196)
  • Attempts: 390 (330)

He’s on pace for a slightly better stat line through 12 games than he did in 12 games as a rookie. This is not the kind of development you want to see in a “franchise” quarterback, especially one you traded up in the draft to get.

If those stats don’t prove anything to you, let me have Michael Kist bless you with some of his Trubisky analysis

Yeah, the Eagles should handle him well.

The Jordan Howard effect?

Eagles running back Jordan Howard will get to face his former team for the first time on Sunday. It’s quite possible that no one on the Bears misses him more than Tarik Cohen.

Through seven games this season, Cohen has 240 yards from scrimmage.  That is 382 less than he had through seven games last year, and 214 less than he had in his rookie year through seven games.

His counterpart David Montgomery has 463 yards from scrimmage, less than Jordan Howard had in his two years with Cohen through seven games.

  • 2017: Cohen – 454 YFS / Howard 621 YFS
  • 2018: Cohen – 622 YFS / Howard 479

So far in 2019, Howard has 511 yards from scrimmage, complementing Miles Sanders’ 568 yards from scrimmage.

Without Howard as his running mate (no pun intended… ok maybe a little), Cohen has gone from one of the most dynamic all-purpose yards player to yet another Bears’ offensive player trying to find his way. This Bears offense shouldn’t scare the Eagles defense, especially as that secondary gets healthier.

The “Monsters” of Midway

For the second year in a row, the Bears defense has Khalil Mack. For the second year in a row, the Bears defense has been dominant. As you saw earlier in this post, the Bears are top ten in every statistical category for defense.

Mack currently has a 90.8 overall grade from ProFootballFocus. If he finishes with a grade of 90.0 or above, it will mark the fifth straight year of earning such grade.

But outside of Mack, the Bears defense is sort of underwhelming.  Sure they have Kyle Fuller and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, but those two have accounted for all five of the defense’s interceptions. They have 19 sacks, 16th in the league, and Mack has 5.5 of them.

They are also 26th in the league in blitz percentage, so Wentz should have enough time in the pocket to make his big time throws hit home. Also, if the Eagles get into a fourth and short, look for them to take advantage of the Bears’ 31st ranked defense in fourth down conversions. Against the Bears this season, teams have attempted nine fourth down conversions and have been successful seven times.

If there were ever a game for the Eagles to start with the ball at the beginning of the game, it would be this one. The Bears’ kickoff unit is 29th in the league in field position after a kickoff, with opposing offenses’ average start is their own 31 yard line.  Starting a drive with 69 (nice) yards to go would be a welcomed sight for an Eagles offense looking to find some consistency. 

For some history and predictions, check out the next page!

Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

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