While the Bears faithful sit at home, anxiously awaiting kickoff, here are some things to watch for during tonight’s matchup:
Obviously, Matt Forte: The Eagles have not been good against the run, and the Bears will be able to have success against the Eagles with draw plays. With the Wide-9 technique that the Eagles run, if the Bears can get Forte through that initial front, the Eagles linebackers are just plain bad. Forte could be primed for yet again, another monster day.
Peppers movement on the line: The Eagles are starting two rookies, inside, on their offensive line, and I would expect to see Peppers move inside more than usual to get that pressure up the middle that is significantly needed in the Cover-2.
How Does Henry Melton Respond: Lovie Smith publicly called out Melton, essentially, saying he has to see more from him. After Melton’s awesome start to the season, his production has dropped off. If he doesn't show up early, Okoye will steal some more of his snaps.
Chris Conte and Major Wright vs. Vick: These young safeties have not been tested at all, and tonight is a Giant challenge. With the speed of Maclin and Jackson, Conte must stay disciplined. When Vick is out of the pocket, these young safeties must remain deep and let the Bears linebackers take care of Vick. That’s how the Bears beat Vick out of the pocket. If Conte bites on going up to stop Vick from scrambling, these receivers will be streaking down the field catching 50 yard bombs from number 7.
"Mr. 3rd Down,” Earl Bennett: Mike Martz called Earl Bennett, "Mr. 3rd Down" earlier in the week. His return comes at the best possible time, and will help this offense convert those tough 3rd downs. Against a team that rushes the passer like the Eagles, Earl’s ability to recognize when Jay will need a quick pass to save his life will come in handy as it always does.
McCoy vs. Bears Run D: Say what you want, but I’m not convinced the Bears defense can stop the run. Sure, they stopped Adrian Peterson ... but he only touched the ball 12 times, and the Vikings can’t pass the ball effectively. McCoy is having just as good of a season as Forte and gets in the endzone way more. He’s strong, he’s fast, he can make you miss. This is going to be a tough task for a struggling Bears run defense.
Bears Tackles against Eagles pass rush: Can J'Marcus Webb and Lance Louis stop Trent Cole and company? I don't like their chances at all. This will be interesting to see if this offensive line has actually taken a step forward or just playing bad teams as of recently.
Hester and Knox must make plays: The Eagles will be playing a lot of one on one coverage and do not press a lot. With Hester and Knox's speed on the outside, they must get open and make plays. It’s a tough task, but they have the speed to do it.
Stay Disciplined: The environment will be as hostile as ever. In a game of this magnitude, the offensive line must stay calm and limit false starts.