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Philadelphia Eagles opponents preview - Chicago Bears

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This is the next part in our series of previews of the Eagles 2009 opponents. Joining us for this feature is Dave Schwab, who writes about the Eagles at his site Eagles Lincs.

The Eagles will try to snap a few streaks this Sunday night when they face off against the Bears. They've lost two straight this season and are so far winless on Sunday night football on NBC. They've also lost a couple straight to the Bears over the last couple years... Can the Eagles break these streaks and get back on track?

Check out Dave's full analysis after the jump.

2009 Eagles Opponents- Chicago Bears

The 5-4 Eagles will try and snap a two game losing streak when they travel to Chicago on November 22nd to play the 4-5 Bears in front of a nationally televised audience on Sunday Night Football. Philadelphia is coming off another rough trip to the West Coast having lost to the San Diego Chargers 31-23. The Bears are slowly letting their season slip away as they lost their second game in a row, falling 10-6 to the 49ers last Thursday night. They have now lost four out of their last five games since their bye in week five. The biggest benefit they will have for this game, besides the extra few days rest is that they are playing at home where they are 3-1 this season. The last time these two teams played in Chicago was last season in week four with the Bears coming away with a 24-20 victory. The lowlight of this game was when the Eagles were stopped on fourth and goal from the Bear’s one yard line with 3:40 left in the game.

A lot has changed with the Bears between this year and last but not necessarily for the best. Chicago’s big off season acquisition was quarterback Jay Cutler from Denver. While he had some flashes of brilliance earlier in the season including a big win over Pittsburgh, lately he seems to have more completions to the other team than he does to his own receivers. In the game against San Francisco he threw five interceptions and zero touchdowns as the offense only managed to score six points. Most of the interceptions were avoidable as he made one poor decision after another, forcing the ball into spots where his receivers had no legitimate chance to make the catch. His last interception, the most costly one was at the end of the game in the 49ers end zone sealing the victory for San Francisco. This reckless behavior with the ball could play right into the hands of the Eagles’ secondary as they already have 15 interceptions on the year. Chicago’s running game isn’t going to scare anyone either as they currently rank 30th in the league only averaging 85 yards per game. Despite this stat, the Eagles’ defense will still have to be wary of the run as they gave up 119 yards on the ground last week to a Charger team that was ranked last in rushing offense. The best strategy will be to stuff the run to create some third and long situations which will help to feed Cutler’s instinct to throw the ball up for grabs.

Defensively the Bears are a mere shell of their former selves as they have never recovered from losing All Pro linebacker, Brian Urlacher with a season ending injury to his wrist. In their last two games against teams with a decent offense the Bears’ D gave up 41 points to the Cardinals and 45 points to the Bengals which bodes well for the Eagles offense to have another big day. Chicago is currently ranked 9th overall in total yards given up per game, but 19th in points allowed and 21st against the run. This could set up for Eagles RB LeSean McCoy to have a big day as it is doubtful Brian Westbrook will be back after sustaining another concussion in last week’s game. If the Birds can move the ball on the ground, it should open things up for some big plays down the field.

Heading into week eleven every game becomes a must win especially for these two teams who are hovering right around the .500 mark. Despite the fact that Eagles have lost their last two games, they are still a far better team than the Bears. They have more talent at the skill positions and a QB who knows how to take care of the ball. Defensively, despite being thin in the secondary, the only real threat Chicago has is Devin Hester. The key will be to shut down RB Matt Forte and put the ball in Cutler’s hands as right now he could be the Eagles best weapon to win this game.

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