Chicago Bears: 5 Keys to Winning on Monday Night vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles have an easier route because no one in the NFC East can stay consistent outside of the New York Giants, but they are banged up. The Bears have to contend with the football machine that is the undefeated Green Bay Packers and the young guns in Detroit.
The winner of this Monday Night Football matchup will most likely get at least a wild-card birth. Of the two wild-card slots in the NFC, one will have 10 wins, and the other will most likely get in with nine wins and the edge in a tiebreaker.
A win against the Eagles will give them a huge advantage at the end of the season.
Here are five keys to the Bears defeating the Eagles on Monday night.
Win the Turnover Battle
This is generally a good key to win in any game, but it will be especially important against the Eagles.
I am one of the biggest Jay Cutler supporters you will ever meet, but sometimes he tends to force passes when the receivers are playing poorly.
He gets impatient and tries to create when there is little to work with.
Cutler has just six interceptions on the season, and his interception rate of 2.6 is the lowest of his career and substantially lower than his career average of 3.5 percent.
The Eagles are a fast ball-hawking defense and will be looking to put pressure on Jay Cutler to force him into make mistakes.
The Bears defense has not looked the same as in previous years, but they are still tenacious and will make Mike Vick turn the ball over.
I expect Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher to have monster games.
Control LeSean McCoy
LeSean "Shady" McCoy is one of the most talented players in the NFL. McCoy is second in the league in rushing yards with 754, is first in rushing yards per game at 107.7, and has rushed for eight touchdowns.
The scariest part of McCoy's game is that he is very involved in the passing game as well. His receptions are down from last season, but McCoy still has two receiving touchdowns.
Essentially, it's not about stopping McCoy—it's just about curbing his production. Chicago can't allow him to run wild or he could rush for 185 yards as he did last week against the Dallas Cowboys.
Get Matt Forte Involved Early and Often
Matt Forte has to be the focal point of the Bears offense. He is arguably the MVP for the entire NFL, let alone the Bears.
Forte can burn you on the ground or in the passing game. How he excels just depends on the flow of the game and what the Eagles will focus on more.
In the first three games of the season Forte had 35 rushes for 119 yards and 22 catches for 287 yards. Since then the Bears have started to give Forte the rock on the ground more, and he has been more effective. In his last four games he is averaging 138 yards on 22 rushes.
If the Eagles focus on stopping Forte on the ground, the Bears have to be able to adjust and get him involved in the passing game.
Matt Forte holds the fate of this game in his underpaid hands.
Dominate on Special Teams
The Bears have the best special teams play in the NFL because of Devin Hester.
He is the best returner the NFL has ever seen, but the Eagles can be just as explosive—just ask the Giants about DeSean Jackson.
Whoever's special teams show up will get their offense better field position, allow the defense to rest more, and potentially put up points.
Devin Hester loves the limelight and always comes to play on Monday Night. I will not be surprised at all if he takes one to the house in front of a national audience.
Score Touchdowns in the Red Zone
The Bears are 13th in the NFL in scoring at 24.3 PPG, but they could easily be around 27-28 PPG if they scored more touchdowns in the red zone.
Too often this season the Bears have kicked field goals when they could have scored touchdowns.
Lately (to the disappointment of Matt Forte fantasy owners) Marion Barber has come in and been able to convert on big short-yardage plays. Their red zone productivity is getting better, but there is still work to be done.
The problem is the Bears lack that big receiver to go up and be physical in the end zone. Roy Williams could be that threat, but the jury is still out on him.
I have said this many times, but tight end Kellen Davis could be this goal line receiving option. Davis only has eight receptions, but has seen the end zone twice, and is a physical animal.
If the Bears can put up 27-30 points they should be walking out of Lincoln Financial Field with a very satisfying win.
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