This is a great season to be an Eagles fan. Frankly, I'm fine with all the jumpers latching on the Philadelphia bandwagon. I have seen a number of Steelers fans sporting Eagles gear, and it makes me laugh every time I see it.
Jimmy Rollins said once, "Philadelphia is a front-runner town." How true are those words when the Eagles get on a three-game winning streak? Downing two division opponents, the Eagles are currently riding a three-game winning streak into Chicago. The Eagles are in a great position to win this game and continue their success in the NFC.
The Eagles are now in first place in the NFC East (7-3) following a huge win against the New York Giants at home. Now the Eagles head on out to Chi-Town to play an aggressive Bears team. The Bears have had some very deceiving games, and could give the Eagles some serious trouble.
Here are five keys to an Eagles victory in Chicago:
The Eagles defense made me do a double take a couple of times in its last game. I swear I was watching Jim Johnson and the Brian Dawkins days. McDermott was running constant blitz packages and it was working.
This is the core of the Eagles defense and there is no reason that they should move away from this excellent game plan. The Eagles defense is arguably the best at bringing the heat, aside from maybe 'BlitzBurgh.'
This plan will work even better against a terrible offensive line in Chicago, and Jay Cutler who makes big mistakes under pressure. This is a perfect storm for the Bears and the Eagles are going to be all over it, all game.
Let the Eagles LB's run the blitz and let the ball hawking Eagles secondary pick off those rushed Cutler passes. The Eagles defense should have a huge game and force several turnovers, especially those interceptions.
I'm watching you Asante Samuel.
Chicago and Soldier Field are a potent combination for any opposing team. They are loud and distracting, and it can make it really tough for opposing teams. Unfortunately, it happens to be the Eagles that will be suffering from this rocking crowd.
The great part about the NFL and football in general, is there are always ways to make the home crowd as silent as a Prius.
It's as simple as performing these few steps:
1. Convert on third downs
2. Make big defensive stops
3. Don't turn the ball over
4. Don't give up the big play on defense
5. Score consistently
The Eagles have done a great job so far this season in doing all of these things. This shouldn't change when they play the Bears.
Hey Mike: Scramble on those third and longs. It will sound like Soldier Field is empty.
You could make the case that LeSean McCoy won the Eagles the game against the Giants. In the fourth quarter he came up with two huge runs, one on fourth down that resulted in the touchdown that gave the Eagles the lead. One more late in the game for 40 yards that set up the game sealing field goal.
However, the Eagles almost never handed the ball off to McCoy previous to late in the game. I know the Eagles run a "pass and then pass some more" offense, but McCoy is a huge weapon and can totally throw defenses off balance. He is great at making plays out of nothing and it makes it really hard for defenses to contain him.
McCoy reminds a lot of a young Brian Westbrook. Westbrook and McCoy both have the elusiveness to make one defender miss and then pick up the big gains. McCoy needs to be given the ball more than he currently is and could become a center piece of this offense.
The Bears defense is good. This should be a great test to see how good McCoy really is, and I'm sure he will go above and beyond.
Julius Peppers is going to be watching McCoy showboat into the end zone as soon as he misses the tackle!
Jay Cutler is a turnover machine.
Cutler may be a decent QB, but he constantly throws interceptions. Not to mention the frequent fumbles as soon as he gets hit. Cutler does not respond well when under pressure from defenses and tends to rush throws and make mistakes.
It's a win-win situation for the Eagles defense—they can force Cutler to fumble the ball or just throw an easy interception.
The Eagles defense just needs to get Cutler on the ground a few times and as soon as he senses that pressure, he will force throws. There is no way the Eagles will be able to have the same game the Giants did against Cutler, but they could have a similar effect.
However, Cutler does have a cannon for an arm. He can rocket the ball to his receivers for big gains, as long as he has time. The key to stopping Cutler is just to get pressure on him.
Do that and he will make mistakes.
Michael Vick and the rest of this Eagles offense is explosive and can get the ball into the end zone fast. Last week the Eagles offense stalled a little bit in the beginning of the game, and it was hard for them to get on a roll.
The Eagles have no reason not to be putting points up as soon as that offense steps onto the field. Vick is doing a great job of reading defenses and his receivers are almost a perfect fit. The Bears defense is tough, and the Eagles could make a huge statement by scoring fast and early.
Not to mention, this works in tandem with quieting down the Chicago home crowd. The Eagles offense needs to show that they are still as aggressive and can still move the ball as well as they had before the Giants game.
There is no reason the Eagles should shy away from a game plan like this. Getting a big lead early in the game on the road is a huge help in the later quarters of the game. Don't even allow the Bears to take the lead in the game at any point. That is a one way ticket to winning football games.
I don't have any doubts that the Eagles offense will be able to post the big lead.
All around, the Eagles are just a much better team than the Bears and to make an even stronger case, the Eagles are red hot right now. I don't know if there is a single team in the NFL that could take down this Philadelphia team this week.
The Eagles are going to overpower the Bears and pick up a win.
My Prediction: Eagles- 31 Bears- 19