Having such a late bye week is a weird scheduling quirk, but now we’re all ready and set to face the final four weeks of the schedule.
The Chicago Bears are already out of the playoff hunt with their 3-10 record. They’ll need the rest and rejuvenation that comes from the bye because they have the hardest remaining schedule in the league.
That kicks off Sunday when the 12-1 Philadelphia Eagles come to Soldier Field.
They come in on a four-game win streak and have outscored opponents 123 to 65.
SB Nation site: Gang Green Nation
Record: 12-1, first in the NFC East
Last week: 48-22 win over the Giants
Game day, time, TV: Sunday, noon CT, FOX
Spread: According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Eagles are currently 9-point favorites. The total is at 48.5 points.
Bears all-time record against: 30-16-1, including 1-3 postseason
Historical meetings: The Bears have lost five straight to the Eagles. That streak kicked off three days before Christmas 2013.
With a chance to clinch the division, the Bears traveled to Philly to take on the Eagles. Both teams were 8-6.
Only one team showed up.
The Eagles absolutely routed the Bears 54-11. They scored 21 points in the first quarter and held a 24-0 before the Bears kicked a field goal heading into halftime.
The Eagle finished out by scoring 21 in the fourth quarter too.
Last meeting: Week 9 of the 2019 season. The Bears were 3-4 and the Eagles 4-4.
Chicago fell behind 19-0 before two drives ended with David Montgomery touchdowns.
But still, down five, the Bears punted to the Eagles with over eight minutes left.
The Eagles went on an 8:14 16-play, 69-yard drive that ended with a Jake Elliott field goal to go up 22-14.
Philly kicked off to Chicago with 25 seconds left but Adam Shaheen muffed the squib kick and the Eagles recovered.
Injury report: The Eagles listed five players as being limited or not participating Wednesday.
Did not participate
- S Reed Blankenship (knee)
- LB Shaun Bradley (hamstring)
- G Landon Dickerson (back)
- T Lane Johnson (abdomen)
- WR Quez Watkins (shoulder)
Offense: The Eagles offense ranks first in points and third in yards.
They rank 14th in passing yards and second in rushing yards.
Philadelphia is led by third-year quarterback Jalen Hurts (68 pct. cmp./3,157 yds./22 TD/3 INT), who has developed in a way that Bears fans would love to see Justin Fields progress eventually.
The weapons and supporting cast that Hurts has though, are way different.
Highlighted by A.J. Brown (65 rec./1,020 yds./10 TD) and DeVonta Smith (66/775/5), they are one of the best duos in the league. TE Dallas Goedert (43/544/3) could return against the Bears after returning to practice Wednesday from IR.
Quez Watkins (26/315/3) and RBs Miles Sanders (18/85/0) and Kenneth Gainwell (14/95/0) are the next up on the pecking order.
On the ground, Sanders (204 att./1,068 yds./11 TD) and Hurts (139/686/10) carry the bulk of the workload but Boston Scott (43/157/2) and Gainwell (41/183/4) get some totes, too.
Defense: The Eagles defense ranks seventh in points allowed and second in yards allowed.
Philadelphia has the No. 1 ranked pass defense and 18th ranked rush defense.
The star-studded defense features LBs T.J. Edwards (115 tkls./2 sk/7 PD/8 TFL) and Kyzir White (79 tkls/5 PD/1 TFL), CBs Darius Slay (43 tkls./12 PD/3 INT) and James Bradberry (33 tkls./14 PD/3 INT) and pass rushers Hassan Reddick (10 sk/17 QB hits/3 FF/7 TFL), Brandon Graham (8.5 sk/13 QB hits/2 FF/9 TFL) and Fletcher Cox (6 sk/10 QB hits/6 TFL).
The pass rush doesn’t stop there either with Josh Sweat (7.5 sk/19 QB hits/11 TFL) and Javon Hargrave (8 sk/12 QB hits/7 TFL) also getting after opposing QBs.
And I didn’t even mention the Eagles’ interceptions leader S C.J. Gardner-Johnson (6 INT/8 PD/60 tkls/1 sk).
Key matchups: I am not even sure there is one matchup in this game that favors the Bears. I don’t see one position group that I think is better on the Chicago side than Philadelphia’s.
That said, the Bears will have to rely on their run game and QB Justin Fields to make magic happen against a vicious Eagles pass rush. Eagles opponents average 4.7 yards per carry, so trying to eat clock and keep Jalen Hurts and Co. on the sideline is imperative for Chicago to stay in the game.
The defense...yikes. They haven’t been able to slow down anyone and this Eagles unit is L-O-A-D-E-D. Jaylon Johnson is going to have his hands full with A.J. Brown, but that should give DeVonta Smith chances on the other side. At least the Bears will have Kyler Gordon and Jaquon Brisker back.
- The Eagles are the best offense at avoiding turnovers (first in the league with 7.1 percent of drives ending in a turnover) and their defense is the best at generating them (17.9 percent of opponents' drives end in a turnover)
- The Bears and Eagles are the first (CHI - 189 RYPG) and second (PHI - 162 RYPG) rushing offenses in the NFL.
- Fields and Hurts are first and third, respectively, in QB rushing yards. They are also first (Hurts, 11) and second (Fields, 8) in QB rushing touchdowns.
- Fields is 64 rushing yards away from breaking the Bears’ single-season rushing mark by a quarterback (Bobby Douglass, 1972, 968 yards).
- Chase Claypool played against the Eagles on Oct. 30 in his final game as a Steeler. He caught four passes for 45 yards and threw a touchdown pass to Derek Watt.
- The Eagles rank third in pressure percentage and first in sacks.
- Philadelphia’s defense has seven more sacks as a unit (49) than the Bears’ QBs have been sacked this entire season (42).
Is there any way the Bears can pull off the upset this week? What needs to happen for them to beat the Eagles?