Haugh: Bears-Eagles Preview

This Sunday carries win-or-else implications for the Bears.

David Haugh
November 01, 2019 - 9:12 am
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(670 The Score) The Bears (3-4) visit the Eagles (4-4) on Sunday afternoon. Kickoff comes at noon, and the game can be heard on WBBM Newsradio 780.

Here's a breakdown.

Bears 100:

The last time the Bears played the Eagles, it was an elimination game in the playoffs that Chicago prefers to forget. Sunday’s matchup feels as if it carries similar win-or-else implications. Unless the Bears even their record at 4-4 at midseason, the future becomes the focus and the present becomes a pile of rubble. Those are the stakes. Belief in the Bears sunk around the city after coach Matt Nagy decided to take a knee and Eddy Piñeiro missed a 41-yard field-goal attempt as time expired in a loss to the Chargers. We spent the week looking for accountability at Halas Hall that never came. Only a victory on the road would restore civic confidence. The Bears must run the ball, protect it and keep the Eagles from making big plays in the clutch. It’s a tall task as the schedule toughens.

Most intriguing matchup: Eagles rookie left tackle Andre Dillard vs. Bears pass rusher Khalil Mack

With Jason Peters still out, the first-round draft pick who has steadily improved this season faces his biggest challenge of the season in Mack. The Eagles likely will help Dillard with tight end and backfield attention, but Mack – who has 5.5 sacks – figures to be looking forward to making a bigger impact than the last time these two teams played.

Most intriguing matchup II: Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox vs. Bears offensive line

Cox can clog the middle or collapse the pocket, whatever the Eagles defense needs. After a slow start, Cox has 2.5 sacks and three tackles for loss in the last four weeks. With Bears right guard Rashaad Coward still adjusting to starting role next to second-year center James Daniels, Cox stands a good chance of continuing his dominance against an inconsistent offensive line.

Most intriguing matchup III: Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson vs. Bears secondary

Jackson has been out since Week 2 with an abdominal strain but returned to practice this week. If he plays, the Bears better be ready for one of the NFL’s most dangerous deep threats. The Chargers' Mike Williams changed the game with a 43-yard catch behind the Bears secondary last Sunday. Jackson can impact the game just as quickly.

Quoting:

"We have a communication process that we used, and we felt very comfortable in that situation with what we did."

-- Nagy when pressed on Pineiro’s contention that he attempted his 41-yard field goal from the wrong hash mark

Quoting II:

"It was mostly just like a guy who looks super serious, kind of tense. And that’s not really me."

--Mitchell Trubisky, talking about watching himself on TV tape as Nagy instructed

Quoting III: 

"Fletch (defensive tackle Fletcher Cox) is obviously being a lot more impactful in the game and that’s great to see ... but there’s still more meat left on that bone."

-- Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz

Stat of the week:

The Bears offense averages 281.4 yards per game, the fourth-worst mark in the NFL. It’s hard to imagine Chicago leaving Philadelphia victorious without cracking the 300-yard barrier.

Stat of the week II:

The Eagles convert 49 percent of their third downs, the second-highest rate of the league – and that’s with tight end Zach Ertz suffering a dip in production and catching 24 fewer passes than at this time last year.

The difference: People can point to the Bears defense giving up late leads and Piñeiro missing makeable kicks. But when all is said and done about the analysis of this football team, it all comes back to the quarterback – and Trubisky hasn't been good enough. Like it or not, everything revolves around Trubisky’s limitations. In contrast, counterpart Carson Wentz gives the Eagles a chance every single week, and that will be the difference Sunday. You can count on the Bears to play defense, to play sound special teams and perhaps even to run the football. But to say you can count on Trubisky to come through in a hostile road environment in a must-win situation seems too much to ask of a young quarterback who's fighting his anxieties. Alas, the Bears will return from Philadelphia at the midseason point and an organizational crossroads.

Prediction: Eagles 23, Bears 17

David Haugh is the co-host of the Mully & Haugh Show on 670 The Score weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Listen to the show here. You can follow him on Twitter @DavidHaugh and email him at david.haugh@entercom.com.