THIS isn’t a trap game. The Bears are in a rebuilding phase, and (rather deliberately) don’t have enough pieces to threaten most teams with. Wisely, they seem more focused on their 2018 Draft position, than on winning games in 2017. So us getting win number 10 is almost perfunctory. Getting that win would mathematically eliminate the Redskins from being able to win the NFC East this year, and bring us one step closer to locking it down.
With what’s coming up on the schedule, this would normally be an easy game to look past. Normally. Thing is, getting win #10 will put us at double-digits in the win column. Owner Jeffrey Lurie likes double-digit win seasons, and I’m sure Head Coach Doug Pederson is itching to sport one.
While the players may not be able to “get up” for the Bears, being motivated to not disappoint two bosses eager for this win, should be enough to keep the players focused on the task at hand. Hopefully.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to focus on this week versus Da Bears :
1) Set hard edges: Behind RB’s Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, and rookie QB Mitch Trubisky, the Bears are 5th in the NFL in rushing. Howard is more between the Tackles, Cohen is better in space, and of course a QB is catch-as-catch-can. This means our DE’s have to set a hard edge to try to force every run inside, take away any cutback lane or QB option runs.
2) Rediscover our TE: Last week TE Zach Ertz didn’t figure much into the gameplan, but this week he may be invaluable. The Bears run a 3-4 defense and their OLB’s couldn’t cover their shadows. If we can get the ball out to Ertz, that will force the Bears into their Nickel package and then we can hit them with RB Corey Clement.
3) Don’t get cute: This is just the Bears. Some coaches might be tempted to break out trick plays just to test them out. DON’T. This not only tips our hand for teams to study, but it also says to our opponent that we don’t take them seriously. Disrespect can be a powerful motivator. Like when Skip here disrespected our Defense last Tuesday:
That extra motivation led to our best defensive performance of 2017, so far. Let’s not lend our opponent any motivation, and make this game any harder than it needs to be.
4) Punt the ball: No need to go for it on fourth down against this team. Win the hidden yardage battle. They don’t score or throw the ball well, so don’t offer them any help.
If we do all these things, we’re just about guaranteed to win. Now that we’ve covered what should happen, let’s get into what likely will happen:
Defensively, this should be a fairly paint-by-numbers type of game. Mitch Trubisky is a rookie QB, playing like a rookie QB, who isn’t getting much in the way of coaching support. He also has zero down-field weapons in the passing game. If we can shut down or control the Bears run game, we’ll be forcing a rookie to beat us with his brain and his arm. This is beyond his ability at this point.
Offensively, due to looking past them, we may hand the Bears a couple of silly turnovers. However, as long as we don’t allow the defense to score, the game should stay pretty well in our control given that we’re at home. If the Eagles come out focused, this game will be an utter blowout, but somehow the idea of them coming out focused doesn’t seem likely.
PREDICTION: EAGLES 27 – Bears 17