The Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles will go head-to-head for the 43rd time ever on Sunday night.
Chicago leads the all-time series 30-11-1.
The Bears beat the Eagles, 30-24, the last time these two NFC teams met in 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field. In that game, Bears running back Matt Forte totaled 150 yards, while Eagles back LeSean McCoy added 117 total yards of his own along with a rushing touchdown.
This time around it will likely be the same story. Both teams want to get their elusive backs the ball often. When the Bears give Forte 20 or more touches good things happen, the same for the Eagles and McCoy.
"I feel like this game, I've got to put the offense on my back," McCoy said, via ESPN.com. "I want to roll. I feel like myself and the big guys up front -- we've got to put this game on our back and take care of business and get a win."
McCoy and the first ranked Eagles run offense will be a handful for the last ranked Bears run defense on Sunday night. But some good news arrived at the right time for Chicago.
Veteran linebacker Lance Briggs appears to be back in the mix after missing the last seven games with a shoulder injury that he suffered back in Week Seven.
His leadership is invaluable and will help out rookie Jon Bostic and veteran James Anderson. Briggs won't play his normal amount of snaps since he isn't in game shape, but his presence and voice on the field with be nice to have back.
This is a must-win for both teams as they each sit a top their divisions at 8-6. The Bears have the Packers (7-6-1) and Lions (7-7) right behind them in the NFC North, while the Eagles have the Cowboys (7-7) a game back in the NFC East. Both teams control their own destiny.
The game should come down to who wants it more. The team that scores early on and builds a lead will be able to build some momentum.
The Bears need to stick to their offensive gameplan, using Forte effectively and get Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery the ball a ton. On defense, they need guys to step up and force young quarterback Nick Foles into bad situations.
This should be a fun one to watch as it should have a playoff type feel with both teams going all out on Sunday night.
Bears- Linebacker Lance Briggs (shoulder) was medically cleared this week to play. He practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday before practicing fully on Friday. He is listed as questionable, but should play. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall rested on Wednesday, practiced on a limited basis Thursday and practiced fully on Friday. He will be good to go in this one.
Eagles- Safeties Colt Anderson (knee) and Kurt Coleman (hamstring) have both been ruled out after missing practice all week. Cornerback Brandon Boykin (concussion) sat out Wednesday, but practicing fully Thursday and Friday after being medically cleared by team doctors.
General manager Phil Emery recently came out and said that Bostic's real future is at outside linebacker rather than his current position in the middle. He has struggled to shed blocks this season. The rookie has made eight starts, racking up 46 tackles, 35 solo, a sack and one interception. With the tough task of LeSean McCoy looming for the Bears, it is important for Bostic to be in the right spots more often than not. The University of Florida product will be under the spotlight plenty in this one.
Since his eight tackle, two-and-a half sack performance against the Vikings in Week 13, the 12-year veteran has posted just two tackles over his last two games. He needs to be more involved, because this defense is way better when they get a solid pass rush, especially from #90. The Eagles offensive line has kept Foles up right for most of the year, but against over-rated left tackle Jason Peters, Peppers should excel.
The "Black Unicorn" caught six passes for 71 yards last week, his largest catch output since Week Six in New York. He lost a fumble, that the Browns took to the house. It was on a play that Bennett simply tried too hard to earn the first-down. He needs to be smarter in the open field and to learn to accept defeat on a play when nothing is there. This is a nice matchup for him as he faces a Philly linebacking core that is average at best. Look for Martellus to have a big night. I think he will find the endzone in the first half of this one.
Final Score Prediction: Bears 34, Eagles 27
Lows in the mid 50s. Southwest winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain near 100 percent around midnight.
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