by Carlos Nazario
This week we have a Monday night primetime battle between two pretty good teams fighting for a playoff spot. The Bears travel to Philadelphia to play the Eagles.
The Bears are coming off of their bye at 4-3. They have won their last 2 games, and have key players coming back. Wide receiver Earl Bennett, who some consider to be the Bears’ best receiver, returns from a chest injury to give quarterback Jay Cutler a familiar weapon. Bennett was Cutler’s roommate at Vanderbilt, and the two hooked up for 2 touchdowns against the Eagles last season.
Cutler will also get some added protection. Tackle Gabe Carimi, who has been out since week 2 because of a knee injury, is slated to return. The rookie first round pick adds beef to a line that has suffered a bit (though gotten better as of late) on the right side.
After a few weeks of getting torched, the Bears defense has gotten its act together and has been better. In their last game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the defense forced 4 turnovers and held them to 30 yards rushing.
That defense will be needed against the running attack of LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick. McCoy is coming off a 185 yard rushing effort against the Cowboys last week and Vick is always a step away from blowing past everyone and scoring a touchdown.
The Bears have a pretty good running back themselves. Matt Forte leads all players in yards from scrimmage with 1091 yards. He is on his “Pay Forte” tour, so he is looking to add Philly to the stop. He rushed for 145 yards and added 38 yards receiving against Tampa Bay.
This looks to be a battle of running backs. McCoy and Forte are looking to solidify themselves as the elite running back in the league.
The Bears have a good history against Vick. He is 0-4 lifetime against Chicago. The Bears have good athletes to chase down Vick, and they do a good job of not over-rushing. By not over-rushing, they have been able to contain Vick and make him more of a pocket passer. He has improved as a passer, but it still is not his strong suit.
Last season, Cutler had a huge game against the Eagles. He completed 14 of 21 passes for 247 yards and 4 touchdowns. He has more help coming into this game, but the Eagles are also a better defense. They have not performed like the self-proclaimed “Dream Team” but have improved as of late.
This looks to be a tough, entertaining game. These are two teams on the rise from early season difficulties, and look to fight for their playoff lives. A loss on Monday will put a big dent on the losing team’s chances. My prediction? Eagles 27-24.