Week 12 Preview: Bears at Eagles - November 26, 2017

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Week 12 Preview: Bears at Eagles – November 26, 2017

Chicago Bears

Right now, the Philadelphia Eagles are where the Chicago Bears soon hope to be – at the top of a division race, thanks to an offensive-minded head coach leading a budding-star, second-year quarterback. Dream on it, because it could happen next season.

“Never Tell Me The Odds:”

The Bears (3-7) entered Friday as 14-point underdogs to the Eagles (9-1) with the over under set at 44, according to Bovada. Philadelphia is 8-2 against the spread, including 6-1 as a favorite. Chicago is 5-3-1 as an underdog against the spread, but two of those three losses (and the push) have come in the team’s last three games.

Series History:

The Bears are 30-13-2 all-time against the Eagles, but have lost each of their last two head-to-head meetings and three of their last five.

Game Time, Broadcast Info, Officiating Crew:

Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia

Broadcast Info: Noon, FOX-TV (Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver), WBBM-AM 780, WCFS-FM 105.9 (Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, Zach Zaidman)

Referee: Walt Coleman

Expected Starters and Lineups:

Bears Offense Expected Starters:

  • QB Mitch Trubisky
  • RB Jordan Howard
  • FB Michael Burton
  • WR Dontrelle Inman
  • WR Kendall Wright
  • TE Adam Shaheen
  • LT Charles Leno Jr.
  • LG Josh Sitton
  • C Cody Whitehair
  • RG Kyle Long
  • RT Bobby Massie

Bears Defense Expected Starters:

  • DE Akiem Hicks
  • NT Eddie Goldman
  • DE Mitch Unrein
  • OLB Sam Acho
  • ILB Christian Jones
  • ILB Nick Kwiatkoski
  • OLB Pernell McPhee
  • CB Kyle Fuller
  • CB Prince Amukamara
  • FS Eddie Jackson
  • SS Adrian Amos

Bears Specialists: 

  • Cairo Santos (kicker), Pat O’Donnell (punter, holder), Andrew DePaola (long snapper), Benny Cunningham, Tarik Cohen (kick returners), Tarik Cohen (punt returner)

Eagles Offense Expected Starters:

  • QB Carson Wentz
  • RB LeGarrette Blount
  • WR Alshon Jeffery
  • WR Torrey Smith
  • TE Zach Ertz
  • TE Brent Celek
  • LT Halapoulivaati Vaitai
  • LG Stefen Wisniewski
  • C Jason Kelce
  • RG Brandon Brooks
  • RT Lane Johnson

Eagles Defense Expected Starters:

  • DE Brandon Graham
  • DT Timmy Jernigan
  • DT Fletcher Cox
  • DE Vinny Curry
  • OLB Mychal Kendricks
  • OLB Nigel Bradham
  • CB Jalen Mils
  • CB Ronald Darby
  • CB Patrick Robinson
  • S Rodney McLeod
  • S Malcom Jenkins

Eagles Specialists:

  • Jake Elliott (kicker), Donnie Jones Martin (punter, holder), Rick Lovato (long snapper), Kenjon Barner, Corey Clement (kick returns), Kenjon Barner (punt returns)

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Chicago Bears – Offense

Our eyes should be on left tackle Charles Leno Jr. should be given to Charles Leno Jr. because protecting Mitch Trubisky should be the highest priority. Leno Jr. is Pro Football Focus’ 13th-highest-graded tackle with a 79.3 grade that would be a career best. He has done his best work as a run blocker, with an 84.2 grade that ranks as the seventh best among tackles. Remember, the Bears signed Leno Jr. to a moderate extension prior to the season to keep him off the open market. A career-best year from the Bears’ starting left tackle probably would have raised his price tag were he to hit the open market.

Dontrelle Inman has been limited in practice all week with a groin injury, so we’ll need to watch how the Bears wideout rotation unfolds. On average, the Eagles have allowed the third most receptions and eighth most receiving yards, but only three receivers have scored touchdowns since Week 4.

Philadelphia has allowed opposing kickers to make six field goals in their last two games and three of its last five. New kicker Cairo Santos might get a chance to make a good first impression.

Chicago Bears – Defense

Adrian Amos is in the midst of a breakout season, but will be put to the test against one of the game’s top tight end targets. Zach Ertz didn’t do much against the Dallas Cowboys last week, but is still one of the best pass catchers at his position. Meanwhile, Amos is Pro Football Focus’ second-highest-graded safety and has posted an elite 90.5 coverage grade. Philadelphia is aggressive in attacking defenses down the field, so it’s likely he’ll be pushed early and often.

Pernell McPhee and Sam Acho are the only two edge defenders who were on the Bears’ Week 1 roster who are still healthy, and it’s McPhee who has the most to gain from the potential up-tick in playing time. McPhee has the highest pass rush grade among all Bears outside linebackers this year, but was just settling into a role as a part-time player before Floyd’s injury. How he handles the final six games could tell us a lot about his future with the team.

Philadelphia Eagles – Offense

Alshon Jeffery is on fire coming into his grudge match against the Bears, having caught touchdowns in each of his last three games. He also earned PFF’s second highest receiving grade in Week 11. Carson Wentz has targeted Jeffery at least six times in each of his last five games. Prince Amukamara will likely be lined up often against Jeffery. Amukamara lines up in the right cornerback slot 98% of the time, while Jeffery lines up on that side of the field on 46 percent of his snaps.

Watch Carson Wentz for all the obvious reasons as you dream of Trubisky making that jump to second-year-stud. But also watch for all the not-so-obvious reasons. Be aware of how he goes in and out of the huddle, when and how he audibles, how he goes through his reads and progressions, note when he takes risks and when he decides to play it safe, soak in his absolute command of the offense. There is a lot going on beyond the surface. If Trubisky is going to reach Wentz-like status, he’ll need to do more than just make throws.

Philadelphia Eagles – Defense

Cornerback Jalen Mills has been the NFL’s most targeted cornerback and has a 74.0 grade from PFF that ranks 65th among the site’s 117 qualifiers at the position. Who the Bears line up in the right wide receiver spot is still to be determined. Inman has lined up there at a 32 percent clip, while Josh Bellamy (who has been sidelined due to being in the NFL’s concussion protocol) has been there 35 percent of the time. If the Bears can get Inman (who has been Trubisky’s most targeted receiver) on Mills, they could have a slight advantage in that particular one-on-one matchup.

Rookie Derek Barnett is tied for second on the team in sacks and could pose a threat to Leno Jr.’s run of strong play. He is one of three Eagles edge defenders who rank among PFF’s 45 best at the position, so the Bears’ pass protection will have a lot on their plate on Sunday.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.