The Eagles will face another tough battle this week against the Bears as they look to strengthen their standing in the NFC. Last week, we saw the Eagles play against a tough Giants defense, and we will see another tough defense this week.
In preparation for the game, I spoke with Mike Burzawa of BearGogglesOn.com. Mike answered questions about both quarterbacks, where each team will have the upper hand on Sunday and who he thinks will win.
BirdsFan: As a Bears fan, tell us about the play of Jay Cutler this season. Do you have confidence in Cutler as he tries to lead the Bears to the playoffs?
BearGogglesOn: Cutler is still a bit of a loose cannon and you never know when he’s going to go on an interception binge. That said, he seems to have settled down in Mike Martz’s system a little bit. They’ve scaled it back for him and the rest of the offense the last couple of weeks and it’s made a difference.
BF: The Bears have always been a team built on defense and this season doesn’t look like an exception. At this point of the year, who is the Bears defensive MVP?
BGO: It’s hard to point to one guy, but I have to say that it’s Brian Urlacher. Peppers is a beast and has had an impact on the defensive line by generating pressure without having to blitz, but Urlacher has been the key to the whole defense. His role in Lovie Smith’s Cover-2 defense is to shut down the run sideline to sideline and still get back and cover the deep middle on passing plays.
BF: What has been the biggest contributing factor for the Bears' three losses this season?
BGO: That’s a loaded question because each loss stands on its own merits. The loss to the Giants is 95 percent on the offensive line, which allowed Cutler to get sacked nine times in a half and completely failed to block anyone. The loss to the Redskins, on the other hand, had to do with Cutler and his four interceptions.
BF: The Eagles rank third in rushing offense and the Bears rank second in rushing defense. Who wins the battle on Sunday?
BGO: I’ve got to give it to the Bears. They’ve been successful bottling up Adrian Peterson a couple of weeks ago, so they should be up to the task. As long as they can bottle up Vick and his scrambling, they should be fine.
BF: If you were drawing up the defensive game plan for the Bears, how would you try to stop Michael Vick?
BGO: You’ve got to force him to roll to his right, his off hand. If you can get him moving against the grain with sustained pressure, you might be able to force a bad decision or two.
BF: On Sunday, where will the Bears have an advantage on offense? On defense?
BGO: I’m not sure about advantages for the Bears on offense. The best thing they could do is hang onto the ball and be patient. They’ve been most successful when they’ve run the ball and not tried to push it vertically too much. Not sure they can do that against the Eagles, but they should be persistent with it.
On defense, I’ll take our linebackers matching up against the Eagles running attack. I expect to see Urlacher and Briggs to contain McCoy and Vick’s scrambling.
BF: Where will the Eagles have an advantage on offense? On defense?
BGO: I think the Eagles can exploit the Bears safeties. They have played well so far, but they haven’t really been tested. With the speed of Jackson and Maclin, the Eagles have a decided advantage.
On defense, the Eagles should be able to attack the Bears up front. The offensive line has been questionable all season and getting pressure on Cutler could give the Eagles a big advantage.
BF: What player could be a potential x-factor for the Bears on Sunday?
BGO: How about if I don’t name a player, but I name the Soldier Field turf? The turf in Chicago is notoriously bad, and about this time of year, it can be even more treacherous. The lousy field conditions could do something that many defenders haven’t been able to—slow down the vaunted Eagles attack.
BF: Give me a score prediction.
BGO: Bears, 20-19.