Well, I’m already off to a better start this year picking Eagles games. I picked the Eagles to top the Browns last week and the Eagles took care of business in dominating fashion against an inferior Browns team. However, this week they’ll face a tougher test when they get on the road to matchup against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Let’s take a closer look at this game.
People in this town are fired up about Carson Wentz, and rightfully so. Now that we’ve seen the rookie in regular season game action, we’ve at least got some sort of expectation for the young signal caller. John Fox and Vic Fangio are known as very good defensive minds in the NFL. They like to disguise things and bring exotic blitzes. Fox in particular, had great success in Carolina and Denver, but hasn’t built this Bears’ defense up to that level yet. The Bears simply don’t have the talent that either of the aforementioned teams under John Fox had.
While I don’t expect a major regression from Carson Wentz, I do expect the Bears to at least confuse him a little more than the Browns were able to. Expect Wentz to look for his favorite target, Jordan Matthews, early and often in this game. I’m also expecting another full workload for Ryan Mathews to continue to take pressure off Wentz.
Bottom Line: Wentz doesn’t look quite as good as he did against the Browns, the offense sputters at times, but they still move the football and have this team in the game all night.
I find it hard to believe that Jay Cutler has repeated success against any Head Coach or Coordinator in the NFL, but somehow, he has. And believe it or not, he’s had it against Jim Schwartz. Cutler has beaten Schwartz 7 out of 10 times and has a TD:INT ratio of 15:5 in those games. Couple that success with the fact that Alshon Jeffrey is primed for a big game against a banged up Eagles’ secondary, the Eagles could be looking at some trouble on defense.
However, it’s not all bad. The Bears offensive line allowed Jay Cutler to take a bit of a beating against the Texans in Week 1. Cutler was sacked 5 times and hit 12 times overall. I think that this Eagle defensive end rotation should be able to beat the Bears tackles throughout the evening. If Fletcher Cox can have the kind of game that he typically does, Cutler should be taking another 10-12 hits tonight.
Bottom Line: On paper, it’s not a great matchup for the Eagles. However, this defensive line should continue to pressure the QB and keep them in almost any game they play, that shouldn’t change tonight.
Eagles 20, Bears 24
My gut is telling me the Eagles win this game, but there’s too much on paper that tells me otherwise. 7 rookie quarterbacks have started at Soldier Field in the last 15 years, and only Russell Wilson has come out victorious. Wentz-mania is in effect, but if he has this team 2-0 heading back to Philly for a Keystone State Rivalry against the 2-0 Steelers, it will go next level.