The numbers put up by the Chicago Bears defense in 2018 speak for themselves.
The final NFL rankings for the 2018 Bears defense quantify their magnificent season.
Pts/game: 1st (17.7)
Takeaways: 1st (36)
Yds/play: 1st (4.78)
Yds/game: 3rd (299.7)
Yds/carry: 4th (3.78)
Yds/pass: 1st (5.29)
1st downs/game: 1st (17.4)
Sacks/pass attempt: 9th (8.13%)
— Rich Campbell (@Rich_Campbell) December 31, 2018
But don’t tell that to Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Fletcher Cox, who was having none of that talk about the Bears’ defense being the best in football:
— Garry Cobb (@GarryCobb) January 3, 2019
“I’ve got a really good feeling that we will be the better defense on Sunday.”
BOOM! Big words from the big man in the middle of Philly’s defense.
Every good playoff matchup needs a little bit of trash talk and bulletin board material to spice things up, and the Eagles have provided plenty of it. Between Cox and Alshon Jeffery’s initial comments earlier in the week regarding his time in Chicago, there have been enough outside motivating factors. Not that the Bears needed any more motivation this week.
For what it’s worth, the Eagles ranked 12th in points, tied for 22nd in takeaways, 23rd in yards per game, 21st in yards per carry, and 14th yards per pass attempt. It’s almost as if it’s the Eagles who need this bulletin board material from their unit’s best player more than anyone else. And if a Super Bowl winner, Pro Bowler, and absolute menace at the line of scrimmage can’t get your juices pumping and leading you into the right direction, then I don’t think anything ever will.
To be clear, the Eagles defense isn’t awful. This is a group whose 44 sacks was tied for the eighth most in the league and have stifled teams on third down, allowing the fifth fewest successful conversions and the eighth fewest total first downs. Heck, this group isn’t bad. But they’re not the Bears. Not even close.