Matchups to Watch: Bears Offense vs. Eagles Defense
Forte is tough between the tackles and dangerous on the edge, so if Bradley is caught out of position or a guard gets to the second level and shields him away from a play, Omar Gaither and Chris Gocong will be called on to close in and man the perimeter.
TEs Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen vs. S Brian Dawkins: Although the Bears got a breakout game from Brandon Lloyd this past Sunday against Tampa Bay, the bread and butter of this Chicago, ahem, passing game is the tight end duo of Clark and Olsen. However, they only combined to catch four passes for 24 yards against the Buccaneers, which is troubling since nobody aside from Lloyd has decided to take the bull by the horns at the wide receiver position. If Clark and Olsen can locate those soft spots in the zone vacated by Philly's array of blitzers, they could capitalize on several catch-and-run opportunities.
Dawkins has been one of the premier safeties in the NFL for quite some time and stepped up to the challenge last week after some media members questioned how much he had left in the tank, but he could have trouble in one-on-one coverage with Olsen in particular.
Matchups to Watch: Eagles Offense vs. Bears Defense
The Philadelphia offensive line does a good job of protecting McNabb, and giving him extra time against the Bears is a must. The Chicago secondary is the weak link of the defense. They're currently ranked 28th in the league, allowing 249.7 YPG through the air. With a healthy McNabb behind center it will most likely be an air show on Sunday night, but it remains to be seen how limited he will be throwing the ball.
WR DeSean Jackson vs. S Mike Brown: Despite the fact that the Bears currently rank 28th in the league defending the pass and gave up 407 yards through the air to former teammate Brian Griese in Week 3, Brown and Co. have actually done a pretty good job taking away the deep ball thus far. Griese averaged only 6.1 yards on his 67 passes, meaning he dinked and dunked his way down the field because Brown was largely taking away the deep posts and fly patterns. But Griese was throwing to the likes of Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton, while Jackson, McNabb's shiny new toy on the outside, has blazing speed and will put much more pressure on the Chicago secondary.
Rarely do the Bears ask their cornerbacks to run stride for stride with wideouts on deeper routes, so it will be up to Brown to contain Jackson and prevent him from delivering a back-breaking big play – assuming the rookie doesn't drop the ball at the 1-yard line again, of course.
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John Crist: The Bears weren't supposed to go into Philly and beat the Eagles this past season, and there aren't many prognosticators who think they can pull off another upset even though they'll be home at Soldier Field this time. McNabb and the Eagles look very strong through three games, although not having Westbrook offensively will slow them down to some degree. Nevertheless, that defense played scary against a pretty good Steelers team in Week 3 and could mike life miserable for Orton from start to finish ... Eagles 23, Bears 13.
Behind Enemy Lines: Part III
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