Three Things to watch during Bears-Eagles matchup


by - Staff Writer -
Matt Marton - USA Today Sports
Matt Marton - USA Today Sports

The Bears hit the road for week nine, which should be another great but difficult contest. Sitting at 3-4 and last in the NFC North, the Bears need to win now as they face another hungry team in Philly, who is 4-4 themselves. If either one of these teams wants to taste postseason glory in 2019, the time to win starts now as neither can afford too many more setbacks.

Here are three things to watch for ahead of Sunday's contest.

Build on the offensive performance last week:

I know there are no moral victories in sports and a loss is a loss, but the Bears offense looked much better last week than they have all season. It was a steady dose of balance between both the run and the pass that saw the Bears eclipse 380 yards for the first surpassing their previous season-high by 90 yards.

That was helped mainly in part to David Montgomery and his breakout game on the ground topping 137 yards for the afternoon. For the most part, the Bears rushing game has been near nonexistent this season, and Sunday will not make things any better as Philly has one of the best-run defenses in the NFL. For the Bears to continue to build off last week's success, they need to continue to run the football even if the results are not favorable at first. Balance is the key to offensive success.

Pinero needs to erase last week:

What this means is that Pinero needs to have a short memory and erase last week from his mind. Through the team's first six games, Eddy Pinero was one of the most accurate kickers in the league missing just one field goal on the season. That helped the Chicago coaching staff gain trust in him as the season went on.

After missing a kick earlier in the game last week, Matt Nagy put the game in the hands of Pinero and his leg, hoping he could deliver another game-winner in front of the home crowd. Instead, the kicker couldn’t put it through the uprights, and the Bears nightmare situation from last season emerged again with Chicago dropping a 17-16 on a missed field goal.

That outcome might be all too familiar for Bears fans especially when it deals with a missed kick. However, Pinero was not accustomed to that given how accurate he has been since his college days. That was the first time he had ever missed more than one field goal in a game dating back to when he was at the University of Florida and now with the Bears.

The key now for Pinero is to move on and forget that performance quickly. The sooner he can do that, the better the Bears will be as it will show them that he is not only confident that type of performance will only happen very rarely, but that he can be trusted in big game situations with the game on the line. Given the way the Eagles play on both sides of the ball, this could once again come down to the kicker deciding the outcome of the game.

Now or never:

This is simple for Chicago as it is now or never in terms of the postseason. In my opinion, if the Bears lose again this week, they can kiss the division goodbye as they would be four games back with eight left to play. Not only that, their hopes of making the postseason would take an even bigger hit as four teams within the conference could have three-game leads over the Bears with just eight games to play.

Sure, a lot can happen from now until then, but face the facts, this is a must-win game for Chicago as was last week. Even if the Bears do win, the Packers will still hold a comfortable advantage in the division with Vikings also ahead of Chicago. Good news for the Bears is if they can beat Philly and get to 4-4, they would hold the tiebreaker over the Eagles should they tie later in the season and would keep themselves alive in the hunt with several other great teams.

This is not the AFC where you have New England and everyone elsewhere there may be only one team in that entire conference that reaches 11 wins. This is the NFC where eight teams could legitimately win 10 or 11 games meaning two of those teams would miss the postseason. The NFC is loaded top to bottom, and the Bears are a long way from the top. However, they can once again enter the postseason conversation with a big win on the road.

Game Prediction:

Every Chicago fan is sick and tired of hearing about Mitch Trubisky and when will he step up his game. Well, this week will be no different as once again, the pressure is on him to lead his team offensively. With the Eagles doing an excellent job stopping the run, Chicago will have to move the ball through the air, something they have not done a great job of this season.

Fortunately for them, the Eagles secondary is near the bottom of the league so you could see some big plays through the air. Defensively, the Bears will also be tested as Carson Wentz is a great quarterback. However, this season, he has been uncharacteristically turnover prone, and with a defense as good as the Bears, you could see more on that side of things. Philadelphia is very much alive in their division as the Cowboys have yet to take full control. With the Bears needing this game more than the Eagles, I look for them to pull one out 21-20 on the road to get back to 500.

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