Game Preview – CHI at PHI

Posted: December 22nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 133 Comments »

The Eagles and Bears have played some crazy games in recent years. They seem to be back and forth affairs that get decided in the 4th quarter. Tonight’s game is a meeting of teams that are pretty similar. Both are 8-6. Both have dynamic offenses and porous defenses. I’d love to see an Eagles blowout, but this sure feels like it should be a close game that is decided late.

I wrote the preview for PE.com.

One thing that people are asking about is whether the Eagles will run the ball to protect the defense. The Eagles are the #1 rushing team in the NFL. The Bears are dead last in run defense. So running the ball and keeping the Bears off the field would make sense.

I certainly think the Eagles can and will run the ball a lot. But it won’t be to work the clock. The Eagles will still go up-tempo. That’s a big part of what they do. Drives may last a bit longer if the Eagles really stay on the ground, but this won’t be a ball control offense. Kelly still wants his big plays and his TDs.

My goal is for Shady to have 25 carries, with Bryce Brown and Chris Polk each getting at least 3. I don’t think that running the ball a certain amount of times guarantees anything, but it sure can help.

* * * * *

Reuben Frank posted his 25 Random Points column. He had several good nuggets.

1. This Eagles season seems a lot like 1995. First-year coach, a team that finished the previous year in shambles, a 1-3 start, a surprising mid-season run, a Pro Bowl tailback holding the whole thing together, a battle with the Cowboys for the division lead. The big difference is that was a veteran team, led by older guys like Ricky Watters, Rodney Peete, William Fuller, Mike Zordich and Fred Barnett. This is a predominantly young team. Those 1995 Eagles won a wild-card game and reached the playoffs again a year later, but the success wasn’t sustainable because they got old fast and Ray Rhodes – Coach of the Year in 1995 – couldn’t get his fire-and-brimstone approach to work for very long. This year feels different from that respect. The Eagles finally seem to be stocking the roster with good young players, and the Eagles should be competitive for a while. Especially in a division where all three other teams are a mess. It feels like the start of something, for the first time in a long time.

2. Only 10 quarterbacks in NFL history have had one game with 400 passing yards and three touchdown passes before their 25th birthday. Nick Foles has had two.

3. The Bears have one of the worst rush defenses in NFL history at 5.2 yards per carry. That’s third-worst in the last 50 years (behind the 2006 Colts and 1965 Oilers). If LeSean McCoy doesn’t get at least 27 carries Sunday, it’s inexcusable.

5. Zach Ertz is going to be a beast. The kid has 32 catches for 399 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie, and you can just see him getting more and more comfortable every week. My favorite number: 12.5 yards per catch. That’s a huge number for a tight end. Ertz can really scoot and pick up big yards after the catch. Ertz’s 12.5 figure is 10th-highest among rookie tight ends with at least 30 catches over the last 30 years. Stud.

7. This one blew my mind: Foles has 23 touchdown passes in the equivalent of 8 ½ games. Donovan McNabb surpassed 23 touchdown passes twice in his 13-year career [31 in 2004, 25 in 2001]. With four TD passes in the Eagles’ last two games, Foles will have the fifth-highest total in Eagles history. In 10 ½ games.

I totally agree about 2013/1995. I’ve written about that connection a few times myself.

Point #7 really is crazy. That’s almost hard to wrap your mind around.

* * * * *

Ian Rappaport of the NFL Network had an interesting report.

I have mixed feelings about this. What happens if Foles gets hurt and Vick has to take over for an extended period? Can you trust him to stay healthy? Vick played great for 2 weeks this year, then got hurt. His performance dropped off at that point. If I knew for a fact I’d only need Vick for a game or two, then I’d be okay with him. There’s no question that he can still play.

As Chip Kelly preaches, the #1 ability is durability. And that’s Vick’s biggest weakness.

What do you guys think?

* * * * *

DAL at WAS. I expect Kirk Cousins to play well. I think this is a pick ‘em game. Won’t shock me either way.

A report from Ed Werder today said that Jason Garrett will be fired if he doesn’t make the playoffs. That almost makes me want Dallas to make the playoffs. I don’t want Garrett going anywhere.

_


  • ICDogg

    Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1995.

    Chip Kelly, of course, is the longest-tenured coach of the 4 major Philly sports franchises, but could he soon be the longest-tenured coach of the 4 teams in the NFCE?

    • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

      Yup. Couglin will be back tho.

    • Andy124

      Depends on your definition of soon. Coughlin will be back for at least one more year.

      • GEAGLE

        COUGHLIN is very lucky…not only does he have the two rings in the bank! but sentimentally, he is one of the few positives left that has the beloved Wellington Mara’s finger prints on it…looks like COUGHLIN will get ATleast next year. I wonder if Eli rebounds next year or if this is how he will look as the end of I his career unwinds? I still can’t even explain how Eli has two SB rings. NIck BETTER grow into a better QBS then what Eli was

  • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

    im not surprised at foles at all, take away luck and rg3 and he had one of the best rookie seasons of all time! People just looked at the wins/loses and wrote him off.

  • iceberg584

    “A report from Ed Werder today said that Jason Garrett will be fired if he doesn’t make the playoffs. That almost makes me want Dallas to make the playoffs. I don’t want Garrett going anywhere.”
    I’d be inclined to agree if Dallas making the playoffs didn’t automatically mean that we were out. I think as long as Jerrah remains owner/GM, we are alright.

    • BlindChow

      Consider it a consolation prize if we don’t make it.

    • GEAGLE

      No worries, Knowing Jerruh, he will replace Jason garret with Lane Kiffin

  • zbone95

    You know I’m actually open for vick to be back as a backup. He has been a class act since he got here and if he is cool with it so am i

    • iceberg584

      As long as the price is right, I think it’s win-win.
      He clearly likes it here, he knows the system, and I think he feels like he owes the franchise a little bit.
      More importantly:
      1. I don’t think anybody trusts Barkley or a mid-round rookie to be the primary backup, so we’d have to sign a free agent anyway.
      2. Vick’s role as a veteran leader can’t be overstated. For as much credit as Jason Avant got in the aftermath of the Riley Cooper incident, I think Michael Vick did just as much to diffuse the situation. The young players clearly admire him, and I think that can still be valuable from the backup quarterback position.
      3. The big knock on Vick is his that he can’t get through a full season without getting injured, but this largely doesn’t come into play as a backup.
      4. He’s most effective when not game-planned for, another circumstance that will frequently apply if he is a backup.

      • GEAGLE

        Tricky situation….FOles can’t be given a raise, Vick can’t make more then FOles next year…is Vick really going to accept less money then a 3rd round draft pick? I have to think there is a contender out there willing to pay Vick a little more than what FOles makes….but if they can work it out, I wouldn’t mind at all. Vick has carried himself like a class act, he DESERVES to be welcomed back…don’t have much faith in Barkleys development

        • BlindChow

          No reason Vick can’t get more than Foles. Doesn’t matter if he’s the backup or not.

          • jshort

            Who makes more for the Seahawks, Wilson of the back-up? To lazy to look it up, be willing to bet it’s the back-up.

          • GEAGLE

            Who is Wilsons backup? Flynn is gone

          • Anders

            Tavaris Jackson

    • jshort

      Would like to see that too. Think it would be good for Vick, Net season he’ll be 34. Why take the beating of a starter, if called upon, he is comfortable in this O. Plus he gets to collect a check for the next few years. I’d be happy for him

      • mark2741

        I was thinking about this a couple of weeks ago. If I were Vick, I’d be thrilled to be a backup for a few years in a situation where I was happy (i.e., friends with starter, like the team/coach/city). His other option is to go to another team as a 1 year stop-gap starter and likely be on a bad team plus have a highly-drafted rookie breathing down my neck. And likely get hurt again mid-season, therefore ending a career. What’s better? 1 year as starter or 3 or 4 as backup? I take the latter.

        • GEAGLE

          Especially since Vick just recently got out of debt…
          ..
          Our players love and respect Vick. he has been NOTHING but a class act since coming here and he has handled this season as well as anyone could have. he has earned the right to come back. he gets to not have to move his family, and we get one of the top backups in the NFL who gets along with our Franchise QB…

          Wonder what it would cost to keep him here?

          • jshort

            average back-up salary 1.7 mil. high 4.8

    • Mike Flick

      I am on board with Vick as a backup. I am not sure if Barkley would be ready by next year.

      Vick has had a good attitude, and if we needed him to fill in he could run the offense.

      He could also be our 3rd and long QB. :)

  • Gary

    I guess I’d be OK with Vick as the backup as long as he knows he’s the backup and it’s not an open competition to be starter. We need to move forward at QB.

  • GEAGLE

    I would be ok with Vick if he didn’t come with the dumbest fans in all of sports
    .,.
    Smh at idiots worshipping Vick…it’s like the NBA equivalent of worshipping Lavoy Allen lol

  • Cafone

    If you know of another free agent out there that is willing to come to Philadelphia as a backup and gives the Eagles a better chance of winning games over the course of a season as an injury replacement, then I say let’s sign him!

    But since that guy probably doesn’t exist, I think signing Vick if he’s willing to be a backup is an excellent move, even if we know he has a tendency to get injured. While the idea could backfire if Foles goes down with a season ending injury, I can’t imagine there’s a guy out there you’d rather have if Foles goes down for a game or two.

    • iceberg584

      “While the idea could backfire if Foles goes down with a season ending injury”
      Well that’s precisely the reason you want a Michael Vick as your primary backup, as opposed to a Mike Kafka or Trent Edwards. The former has his faults, but we can win games behind him.

  • GEAGLE

    Last 3 SB winners came out of NO WHERE..10-6 wildcard teams that were nothing special, got hot at the right time, and had to win on the road.

    under Folesy our offense is better then Flacco’s Ravens who basically won because Flacco didn’t turn the ball over….Ravens defense wasn’t that much better then ours
    .,..
    Giants team that ii still think SUCKED! They had a good pass rush, and a QB who was throwing it up and getting lucky. Our offense when on, is much better than the Giants offense who won the recent SB…their defense was probably a little better then ours because of the strong pass rush

    The 10-6 packers team, Vick gifted them the wildcard INT to win the game, and they went in to win it All…that packers team with Rodgers had a high power offense like ours, but the defense was pretty bad if memory serves me correct….
    ..
    Win the turnover and penalty margin and you will have a chance to win every playoff game
    ….
    At this point in every one of those seasons, we would have laughed if someone told us those teams were going to win it all…,I don’t expect to win anSB, heck I don’t expect to win a playoff game…but I don’t expect the OBVIOUS teams to win either (Denver, Seahawks)..these days, the NFL never sticks to the script..

    Someone is going to win a SB this year, that today we would never expect to win…Health, conditioning, not beating ourselves, will make us a tough opponent for whoever we face….I see teams like the Bengals who are horrible on the road, yet average almost 40pts at home…love the fact that we have shown consistent ability to go on the road and win..

    Hopefully we are celebrating a division tonight. IF we do, I doubt FOles will be pointing out how he hung a division banner in the rafters of the Linc like Mcnabb did…”#5 will always love you!!!” Lol

    • RobNE

      Lets get in first.

      • GEAGLE

        Take us out of huge equation….I still don’t think one of huge favorites will win…

      • Anders

        TWSS?

        • GEAGLE

          ????

          • Anders

            Thats what she said.

  • RobNE

    Why would Vick answer no? This doesn’t mean anything other than he gave the right answer.

  • RobNE

    I am terrified of the game next week. Skins are losing right now. Whether Vick is on the team next year – we will have months to discuss. Honestly I hope Kelly picks one or the other and gets rid of one bc I am tired of talking about it.

  • Insomniac

    I’d resign Vick if he wants to stay here as a back up. He’s not a distraction and he showed he can win in this system. The question is how much money would you offer him?

  • BlindChow

    Boom. Romo.

  • Insomniac

    I wonder how Eagles fans would react if he did what Murray did.

    • RobNE

      What happened?

      • Insomniac

        Asking for ball when the team goes pass happy.

        • Anders

          Well McCoy did say something similar after last week. He said he wants to carry the team on his back.

  • RobNE

    Skins are up!! And Iggles fans can tailgate even earlier in the warm weather. Will be loud!!

    • ACViking

      The Cowboys is a true disaster of an organization.

      • RobNE

        That may win the division

  • ACViking

    Re: Rube’s 25 / Vick in ’14 / Bills OLB Jerry Hughes
    _____________

    Rube Frank’s No. 3 point is:

    “The Bears have one of the worst rush defenses in NFL history at 5.2
    yards per carry. That’s third-worst in the last 50 years (behind the
    2006 Colts and 1965 Oilers). If LeSean McCoy doesn’t get at least 27
    carries Sunday, it’s inexcusable.”

    The implication, I assume, is the Eagles will win if McCoy gets 25 or so carries.

    Well, the 2006 Colts — with a defense giving up 5.3 yards per rushing attempt — went 12-4 and won the Super Bowl.

    In 2003, the Eagles — still missing an MLB and hurting on the D-line — gave up 5.0 yards per attempt in the last 11 games of the regular season . . . going 9-2 during that period, clinching home field through the playoffs (and Carolina came to town and pounded the crap out of every Eagle on the field).

    [As for the 4-10 1965 Oilers, that was long before the NFL/AFL became a near-flag football league.]

    I’m sure Kelly will call more running plays. Will it promise victory?

    I think winning today depends on stopping Jay Cutler.
    _____________

    If Vick came back in training camp in 2014, I’d fully expect him to out-play Foles again in a “competition” — because Kelly’s all about competition — for the same reasons Vick beat-out Foles in 2013’s training camp. Vick can run off the option. He can throw darts as well as anyone in 7-7 drills. And, heck, in pre-season games, who’s better against vanilla defenses than Mike Vick?

    What’s the point of having Vick back to re-live the 2013 “competition”?
    ____________

    This off-season, the Bills acquired off the scrapheap the Colts’ 2010 No. 1 pick Jerry Hughes, age 25, and an All American pass-rushing DE-OLB from TCU. (The Colts took MLB Kelvin Sheppard, 2011 3rd pick from LSU, from the Bills — in a swap of under-performers.)

    Hughes notched his 10th sack today. (Sure, he plays on a line with Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, and Macus Dareus. But Hughes still has to beat his guy.)

    I’m curious why the Eagles weren’t interested. If they were, they never made a peep. Would have been more competition at the ROLB position, that’s for sure.

    • BlindChow

      If Vick came back, I doubt there’d be another competition. It’ll more likely be the same situation as when Vick was named starter earlier this year: Foles will have “won” the starting job based on his performance in 2013, and Kelly won’t undermine him by being tentative in declaring so.

      The only way Foles’ job will be threatened is if he starting turning in Dallas performances over and over.

      • ACViking

        BC:

        I’d agree with you . . . I want to agree with you . . . except for the whole “Kelly’s about competition” mantra.

        Does that principle not apply to QBs?

        • BlindChow

          I don’t think he’s as monomaniacal as you make him out to be.

          If anything, the 2013 season will have been considered the “competition.” Kelly has said he doesn’t want his starter to be “looking over his shoulder.” I think the same will apply here, even during offseason.

          • ACViking

            If Foles wins out, I agree with you.

      • Anders

        Kelly had competitions every year in Oregon. He had no problems replacing a starter from 1 year if he got out played in the off season.

        • BlindChow

          Sure, but the NFL is a different animal.

          Foles would have to have a major collapse to be replaced imo.

  • ACViking

    The Cowboys are the most valuable brand in sports.

    Even with Jerry Jones and their 135-136 records since their last playoff appearance (I’ve penciled in a loss today against the Washington team).

    I don’t know of another billion dollar business that gets a pass for such a crappy performance over 15+ years.
    _____________

    By the way, it’s well known that Jerry Jones lives in an estate outside Dallas that resembles, in every way, Tony Montana’s place.

    • GEAGLE

      Their fans are a disgrace for allowing jerry to run it to the ground. They sell out every game,every year and wonder why they can’t stop sucking

      • ACViking

        The ‘Boys sell out for a couple reasons.

        One is Romo’s just good enough to keep the eternal flame of hope alive in the Metroplex and surrounding areas.

        The other is, unlike at Texas Stadium (until near its end), alcohol is now available on Sundays in the Dallas-Fort Worth area if you go to the Cowboys game.

        • GEAGLE

          They sell frozen margaritas there….I heard they had pole dancers in the stadium…is that true or false? Nothing jerry curl does surprises me

    • Anders

      Value is tough to predict when a firm isn’t on the stock market. When Forbes do such analyze, it takes property value with it and the cowboys just build a station worth over 1 billion

      • D3FB

        We should get Sam’s take. He works for Forbes. Alas it isn’t cap season yet so he is nowhere to be found.

        • Anders

          I think you mean Brian Solomon.

          Still Im not an expert, but value of companies not on the stock market is still hard to guess.
          I do know when they make such estimates, they take everything into account (like value of property, merchandise sale etc.)

          I have no doubt Dallas is the most valuable NFL team and consider the Browns was just bought for 1 billion dollars, Dallas is worth a lot more.

  • ACViking

    Bengals 42 – Vikings 14.

    • ICDogg

      yup

      • ACViking

        That score hurts to look at.

        I honestly don’t get last week. At all.

        Are the Bengals the ’85 Bears or something on defense?

    • BlindChow

      The Eagles are great at giving other teams’ fans a false sense of how good their team is. I bet the win last week makes this loss even more crushing for Vikings fans.

      • Andy124

        T-Law did say that the Minn offense was mediocre because of AP. Maybe he was on to something.

      • ACViking

        BC –

        No one beats you for irony. Maybe Baloophi. But that’s it.

    • GEAGLE

      That’s misleading….Bengals are AWESOME at home averaging practically 40pts per game, and Dome teams blow on the road…apples and oranges trying to compare that to our game vs? the Viks

  • ICDogg
    • RobNE

      Yet Easterbrook thinks we are idiots for trading him. He really has something against Chip.

  • ICDogg

    If Vick comes back as a backup, that means there is no competition in TC/preseason.

  • ICDogg

    Heh… false start

    • ICDogg

      damn

  • RobNE

    Watch redskins lose by 1 bc shabby never went for 2. Please hold on skins. Please.

    • BlindChow

      Ugh. Figures.

  • jshort

    time for the int

  • RobNE

    Skins are blowing it just like I thought

  • RobNE

    Why didn’t shabby ever go for 2??

    • Andy124

      They usually don’t start looking at that card until later in the game. Figure too many things can change the equation with that much time left.

      Also probably hasn’t had time to work on the 2pt plays with Cousins that much.

      • RobNE

        It was 3rd qtr. dumb decisions twice

  • RobNE

    When did skins burn their 2nd timeout? This is killing me.

    • sonofdman

      They wasted their second time out after the Cowboys got inside the 10 when the clocked was already stopped. It was ridiculous.

  • BlindChow

    Unbelievable.

  • jshort

    1:08 need field goal

  • scratcherk

    ridic

  • TheRogerPodacter

    what just happened in the dallas game? trying to follow it on the nfl.com game tracker thing is a nightmare…

    • Crus57

      Redskins didn’t cover Murray out of the backfield on 4th and Goal from the 12, he walked in. Cue big scrum with both teams fighting. Offsetting penalties.

      • TheRogerPodacter

        oh, so the penalties were AFTER the play. got it, that makes more sense. it looked like they were going to replay the down, but then it didn’t happen and any mention of the penalties went away!

  • BlindChow

    Ugh, all deep balls when they only need 6 yards.

  • Insomniac

    Bye playoff hopes.

    • jshort

      Why would you say that?

      • Insomniac

        Because we lost our seeding? Where have you been all week?

        • jshort

          We beat Dallas next week we’re in…Wife had me xmas shopping all week.

        • ACViking

          Eagles can get 3rd seed with 2 wins. No?

        • Anders

          What seeding? win out and we get 3rd seed.

          We had no chance for 2nd seed anyway.

  • RobNE

    I hate sports. This will put me in a bad mood all day. The need to go for 2 was glaring. Maybe we can stop writing the cowboys’ obit as they have about a 50 percent chance to win the division.

    • ACViking

      Shannahan can count to $7 million.

      No reason to go for two there . . . at all.

      • RobNE

        I hope he makes him coach

      • jshort

        At that point Washington had momentum, would have made it a 7 point game….6 or 5 point game really didn’t matter. If your a 3 win team, why not go all out. .Could have gone into OT

        • BlindChow

          Really, no such thing as momentum in sports (other than the laws of physics). They tried a 2-pt conversion at the end of the last game and failed, despite all that “momentum.”

          But I agree going for 2 was the choice here if Shanahan wanted to win the game.

  • jshort

    This has me scratching my head now……so it doesn’t matter what we do in this game?

    • ACViking

      A win keeps the Eagles chance for 3rd seed alive. That’s it.

    • RobNE

      Matters for seeding but not for the division. I hope shabby gets none of his money for blowing that game.

  • Corry

    I guess it was just too much to ask for the ‘Skins to be a little less terrible.

  • BlindChow

    So what is it we want results-wise from the 3pm games? Lions to lose and the Packers to win?

    • ICDogg

      Only in the sense that the game would mean less to Chicago.

      But the game is of relatively minor meaning, at least seemingly. Of course, if the 3 seed gets you the Saints on the road, where the 4 seed gets you SF, the game might have a little more significance.

      • Flyin

        Don’t both the 3rd and 4th seed teams get home games… wild card round?

        • ICDogg

          Yes. I meant the Saints playing on the road, where they are not as successful.

          • GEAGLE

            I don’t have stats in front of me, but I assume we are one of the best road teams flirting with the playoffs?

            Would love to see the Saints come here in January. That’s a solid opportunity to make a name off a good team…Nick vs. Bree

          • Anders

            We have 2 road loses this year. At Denver and last week.

          • GEAGLE

            It sucked that we didn’t have a home win for a calendar year, but now that it’s behind us, I kind of like that we became a tough road team first! and then started winning at home even if it’s pretty friggin odd. I can’t recall much precedent for it but we see a lot of good teams that really struggle to win on the road, and are a drastically different team when they play at home…I like that we don’t have to overcome those issues..

            Look at the bengals who average about 40 a game at home, but can’t win on the road to save their life

            Dome teams like the Saints and lions struggle mightily on the road

            I adore the Seahawks, but they aren’t the same team when they don’t have that 12 man with them, and they are accustomed to Westcoast time zone..

            I really like not being so damn reliant on playing at home, and having the mental toughness to not lose our mind when we go on the road

        • Neil

          He meant saints would be on road.

      • Anders

        Also 3rd seed gets the Panthers in the division game, where the 4th seed would get the Seahawks.

      • GEAGLE

        I really really don’t like this dynamic of today being meaningless and next week playing a The most meaningful game possible. Guess we building mental toughness

        • Anders

          Building winning mentality, no off games.

          • GEAGLE

            Sure hope so

  • bdbd20

    I love the fact that Dallas won.

    If they had lost and we then lost knowing that the division was in our hands, that would not have been a good situation.

    It’s now a one game season indoors on the turf. It should be lots of fun.

  • lilmc

    Sportstalk will be great this week. Romo is so clutch! Then we go down and kick ass!!!

  • Anders

    Watching Seattle vs Arizona. Im not really impressed with that offense and the Cards are moving the ball on that defense and they are only tied because of 2 ints and a tick tack OPI.

    • Anders

      and now the defense is going to gift the offense a TD so Wilson can get even more undeserved credit.

      • RobNE

        I saw an MVP list where he was 2nd

        • Anders

          That defense is so good that I could win them 8 games handing of to Lynch.

        • Anders

          or Seahawks gets 0 points. Lol

  • Anders

    How is Bryce Arians doing more with less?

    Fitzgerald
    Floyd
    Palmer
    That whole defense

    Outside of the OL and maybe the safeties, that is a pretty stocked team

    • GEAGLE

      Yeah ii agree…if before the season started 100 random fans were asked to compare the cardinals and the eagles…about 97% would say that the cardinals were a much better team and our only advantages would be at oline and RB
      ….
      Bruce Arians and all that talent and a top NFL defense got his ass handed to him by a college offense and a rookie NFL coach who is clearly adjusting to the pro game

  • BlindChow

    So far so good. Packers winning, Lions losing.

    • RobNE

      Right so the outcome of that 4th down play is worse. I am so glass is half empty right now.

  • Anders

    Either Seattle OL is really really terrible or that Seattle offense isnt that scary.

    Teams problems is of course scoring against that defense

  • jshort

    What’s the game time forecast? know it’s around 60, what about rain?

  • SteveH

    Is it just me or does Chip always look really annoyed to be doing the kellystrator thing on PE.com?

    • Anders

      Didnt thought it.

      Im 99% sure that he is only doing it because he wants too.

  • jshort

    test