Thursday night preseason football and we the Philadelphia Eagles travel to Soldier Field to take on the Chicago Bears. The game has a start time of 8:00 pm (Eastern) and will be televised locally. Current Vegas odds have the Bears listed as 1.5 point favorites, while the total is set at 42.
Analysis: The Philadelphia Eagles had a very nice year under first year head coach Chip Kelly, who brought enthusiasm and excitement back to Philly. Now in the second year of his system, the Eagles look to take another positive step towards winning the Super Bowl. Last year the Eagle offense was ranked 4th in scoring, at 27.6 ppg and 2nd in total yards (417.3 ypg). The Big question last year was if Chip Kelly’s high octane college offense would work in the NFL. Well that has been answered with a resounding yes. Nick Foles had an incredible year, finishing the year with 27 TDs and just 2 INTs, while completing 64% of his passes. Foles will lose WR DeSean Jackson, but Jeremy Maclin is back and Riley cooper showed that he is ready for the big stage. The Eagles have also added WR’s Jordan Mathews (Vanderbilt) and Josh Huff (Oregon) for some solid depth. The running game is all set with LeSean McCoy, who led the league with 1607 yards rushing a year ago. He will operate behind one of the best and most athletic lines in the league. The biggest weakness on this defense was vs the pass as they were last in the league in that category and they really did little to address this need. They seemed to go for more offense and didn’t draft a CB until their 4 th pick. Jaylen Watkins is a good pick but still they needed to address that secondary a bit more and I feel somewhere down the line it will cost the Eagles at the wrong time. The DL is solid and has been aided by the drafting of Marcus Smith, while the also got a nice pickup with 5th round pick DL Taylor Hart.
Marc Trestman's first year in Chicago was mediocre at best as he went just 8-8 on the year. This year's team looks a whole lot better and anything less than a playoff berth would be very disappointing for the fans of Chicago. Marc Trestman is an offensive guru and this year's Bears attack looks to be very good. It is led by Jay Cutler is back at QB and had a very nice year in 2013, as it was finally an offensive system that has been tailored to suit him. Also Cutler has been looking over his shoulder in the past with Josh McCown hre, but McCown is off to Tampa and the Job is now fully Jay's and he has some big play threats to get the ball to in Alshon Jeffrey and Bardon marshall, who both had 1000 receiving yards last year and then you can throw in TE Martellus Bennett, who had 759 yards receiving last year. The running game is all set with Matt Forte, who ran for 1339 yards last year and he will run behind an OL the say all 5 start 16 games last year. The line was 30th in sacks allowed last year (4th) and paved the way for 4.5 ypc. They also added depth in Brian De La Puente from New Orleans, who started all 16 games last year. The offense didn't need much tweaking, so the Bears spent their first 3 draft picks on defense in CB Kyle Fuller, and DTs Ego Ferguson and William Sutton. DL help was a must, after they allowed 162 ygp and 5.4 ypc on the ground last year. Injuries also played a bit part in that, but this year's DL looks a whole lot better, especially if the youngsters will play to their potential. The LB corp is very average, while the secondary has improved with the addition of Fuller and the return of Chris Tillman, who missed half of the season last year.
Pick: I so wanted to go with the Over in this game, but with the total being 42, I will look Under here. Eagles coach has stated that he looks to run his fastbreak offense in this game and that didn't always lead to high scoring games last year. The fastbreak does put points on the board, but also keeps the clock running. The Eagles were tops in rushing last year, while the Bears were last vs the run and if the Eagles target that then the clock will just run and run. The Bears have an explosive offense, but Cutler won't be in their for much more than 1 series and the backups on this team really scare no one. Neither team was very good on defense, but the Eagles did allow 20 points or less in 8 of their last 11 regular season games, while the Bears may have the most improved defense in the league this year. The Bears also remember the 54 points that Philly hung on them late last year. I look for a better defensive effort from them in this one. Upper 30's in this one, but no more.
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