Talk of Chicago's Incapability to Stop Vick, Eagles Okay with Me
I have to say that I'm starting to find it awfully amusing how nearly every analyst on both NFL Network and ESPN, with the exception of Rod Woodson, has written off the Bears' chances of beating the Eagles before the contest has even begun.
To them, the game has been won on paper. Nobody can stop Michael Vick, according to Sterling Sharpe, Mike Mayock, and Brian Baldinger. The Bears have never seen anything like what they're about to encounter in Michael Vick, per Jamie Dukes. And with the exception of Rod Woodson, this game, according to the prognosticators, is as good as over right now.
Except for the fact that the Bears have improved on offense dramatically in the past three games. Except for the fact that the Bears own the league's best scoring defense, are third in the NFL in total defense, and are second in the league in rushing defense.
The Giants committed more turnovers against Philadelphia simply by carelessly carrying the pigskin as if it were a loaf of bread. Philly did little to force Ahmad Bradshaw or Eli Manning to make mistakes in those areas. The Giants had the game won, and then they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
But, the "Big Blue Baddies" did more for us than you think. They provided the blue print for containing Vick and the explosive Eagles offense. They used constant pressure from the defensive line to keep Vick honest and inside they pocket for most of the evening, save for the touchdown run inside the five yard line in the 1st Quarter.
Our defense is smart enough to take the baton and run with it. I fully expect for both Julius Peppers and Israel Idonjie to apply pressure from the defensive end positions. Tommie Harris and Anthony Adams will stuff the run up the middle. And then there are our star-studded linebacking core of Urlacher, Briggs, and Timoisamoa who will wreak havoc on short to intermediate passes, as well as runs that sneak past the line of scrimmage.
Make no mistake about it: this defense has heard all of this negative press from the mass media that has all but declared Michael Vick as the one-man wrecking crew who defeated the Chicago Bears. Vick has no idea how big of a target for a slew of big hits he is.
And then, there's the offense. Jay Cutler is improving with every game at quarterback, only throwing three interceptions in the past three games, with one of those picks, off of Johnny Knox's hands against the Vikings, not being his fault. He is making smarter decisions because the offensive line is starting to pass protect. The offensive line has gelled because of a decent combination that has been in place now for three games, having only given up three sacks during that time. The running game has picked up because Lovie Smith and Mike Martz realized the necessity for a balance of offense and defense. The team has rushed for better than 130 yards in each of the past two games, and I don't see any reason why the Bears won't be able to pick up where they left off against Miami on Sunday. I see the Bears putting up about 350 yards of offense against a Philadelphia defense that is surrendering better than 21 points per contest. This offense is bound to open up on an opponent someday. It might be the Eagles this week.
For all the words of grandeur that Eagles supporters shower their team with, these supporters and the team should be careful what they wish for. The Bears are playing with a chip on their shoulder and are ready to attack the Eagles and, in particular, their "one man show". Look for the Bears to contain Vick in this game with pressure on defense, and to continue their improvement in run and pass blocking as well as 3rd down conversions on offense.
My final score: Bears 28, Eagles 17. All the talk is okay with me because nothing has been settled yet.