CLINCHING a playoff spot last week, validates the Eagles efforts so far. Goal number one of any season, in any sport, is to qualify for the playoffs. Well, that part is in the books. Goal number two is to win our division, so that we get to host at least one playoff game.
Standing in the way of that goal, are the run-dimensional Chicago Bears. (See what I did there?) Should be fun to watch QB Jalen Hurts stalk these animals in their den, and fire multiple touchdowns right though the heart of their secondary.
Skinny Batman Alert!!! WR Devonta Smith has 775 receiving yards. He needs 225 more in the next four games, to reach 1,000. The Eagles already have one 1,000 yard receiver in WR A.J. Brown. The franchise has never had two in the same year.
A win pushes us to 13 – 1, and helps us hold onto a two game lead in our division, as well as our two game lead as the NFC’s top team.
A loss sees us sag to 12 – 2. We’d still be the top team in the NFC East, and the NFC, regardless of how Sunday works out. Still, the Bears are an opponent who has already been eliminated from playoff contention. It’s our duty to help them improve their position in this upcoming Draft.
The point of Four Things isn’t to predict a winner, it’s to discuss which tactics would give our Eagles the best chance to win this game. So here are the Four Things that we need to focus on this week, versus the: Bears
1) Lock The Box: Because of QB Justin Fields’ ability to run past pass-rushers, many teams opt to “mush rush” him, where they gradually try to shrink the pocket, instead of penetrating. It usually works, but it allows the Bears to hang around in games they shouldn’t be in. Why give up a ton of easy yards and points?
Here’s what we should do with our front seven. No mush-rush. Full rush our four D-Linemen, and put the LB’S in shallow zones. That way, if and when Fields slips by our Line, we already have LB’s closing on him, and hoping to trade paint. We also need to be ready to corral their RB’s. Once we have the lead, just continue to “dance with the girl who brung ya.” Stick with the strategy.
2) Man Coverage on the Corners: The Bears receivers are trash, and their QB is no miracle worker. Take them off the board as options immediately, to force the QB to either run, or dump it underneath. Otherwise, he’s putting the ball in harms way.
3) Use Play-action: That immediately means that RB Miles Sanders needs to receive actual hand-offs, to get the defense to bite on the fakes when they happen. Play-action to Sanders, then a deep shot to Devonta Smith, sounds like six already!
4) Quick Hook: At any point, if we get up by 20 points, we need to immediately pull our starters. Two reasons:
1) It protects our players from potential injuries, in a game that could quickly become mean-spirited, if the Bears feel humiliated.
2) The earlier we pull our starters, the more the Bears will feel we don’t take them seriously. Bears players were gut-punched earlier this year, when DE Robert Quinn was traded here. That was followed by a shoryuken, when the Bears traded away LB Roquan Smith. Bears players were publicly questioning what they were playing for. The humiliation of watching us sub early, would send that team into Quit Mode. DO IT! (If we get the chance.)
If we never see a 20 by the 4th quarter, then frequently bring in Offensive Lineman as eligible receivers, then run off-Guard power stuff. Switch to a physical run style. Punish the Bears to advertise that when opponents make us give them our undivided, then there’s going to be trouble.
If the Eagles do these Four Things, then we’ll be virtually impossible to beat. That being said…
The number one rushing team in the NFL is the Bears. Mostly because 1) their QB is a gifted runner, and 2) in proud Bears tradition, their QB isn’t very good at the QB part of playing QB. So how afraid should we be?
The Bears have lost a lot of close games this season. If we let them hang around, we’ll have problem, later in the game. That’s why getting up early and resting starters, is so important.
We’re dealing with an opponent that went into the Trade Deadline with a front office screaming “Fire Sale!”. So don’t tell me they want to win a couple for pride. Perhaps the players may, but from the head coach on up, the Bears want to tank to move up in the 2023.
So we should help them out!
Prediction: EAGLES 29 – Bears 20
WARNING: I don’t have the faintest clue as to what a point spread is, and I know even less about how it works. I know football and that’s IT. If you use Four Things as a gambling tool, you are trying to lose your money, and will deserve it when you do.
Check back in a couple of days for Four Things Reviewed, and we’ll discuss how this game went.