Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia will be the site of the Week 16 matchup between the Chicago Bears (8-6) and the Philadelphia Eagles (8-6) on Sunday Night Football. Both teams are vying for division titles in their respective divisions, and could be in position to clinch Sunday night if things go their way earlier in the day.
Keys to victory for the Chicago Bears
As has been the case with the most recent opponents, limiting the star wideouts is a big aspect to the Bears’ success. The Bears’ secondary should have the same mission against Eagles’ wideout DeSean Jackson, who had 159 yards and a touchdown in last week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. Even heavy snow cannot stop him, as he had 59 yards and a touchdown two weeks ago in the snowstorm in Philly. Tim Jennings will likely be matched up against him, and we have seen what he can do against big-time receivers on a big stage so this will be a matchup to watch.
Another matchup will be the Bears’ offensive weapons versus the Eagles’ secondary, a unit that is second-to-last in passing yards per game. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are the most dangerous wide receiver duo in the NFL, and the Eagles have had trouble stopping anything that comes in their path lately, so they will look to exploit the group for big gains. Add to the mix Martellus Bennett and Earl Bennett, along with special teams fireball Devin Hester, and you have the recipe for a shootout.
Matt Forte was a big help in last week’s game against the Cleveland Browns, following his blockers and exploiting the Browns’ defense for 127 yards. In the process, Forte opened up the passing game and allowed Brandon Marshall and Co. to run wild. He needs to do the same thing Sunday night, and I think the Bears especially need to ratchet up the tempo against this Eagles team.
Speaking of tempo, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly brought his trademark fast-paced offensive mentality over from the college ranks at Oregon, something the Bears have yet to see this year. An interesting thing to watch from this aspect will be if the defense will be in good enough shape to keep up with the pace. A key defensive cog in the form of Lance Briggs could provide the necessary energy for the unit to keep up and play with a chip on their shoulder.
LeSean McCoy has vehemently stated he wants the offense to run through him Sunday night (pun intended), and given the Bears are last in the NFL in defending the run, one can see why. A lot of questions will arise prior to this game as to whether the Bears will rise up and limit (keyword — limit) McCoy on a big stage in a game that could potentially mean the NFC North title, but we will have to wait to get the answer to that one.
If things do not fall the Bears’ way earlier Sunday, this game will still hold weight as it will help determine the third and fourth seed in the playoffs.
Also, that would mean the NFC North would come down to a Week 17 showdown between the two longest-standing rivals in the NFL — the Bears and the Green Bay Packers.