What We're Watching: Eagles-Bears

Eagles fans will watch closely to see if Brian Dawkins and the Eagles defense can continue their dominating ways against the Bears this weekend. (Tom Mihalek/Associated Press)

Here is our weekly look at the things we will be keeping our eyes on during this weekend's Eagles game:

1. The rookie running back: The Bears’ Matt Forte has gotten off to an impressive pro start. He’s second in the league in yards from scrimmage and has averaged nearly 30 touches a game the first 3 weeks. This week, he’ll be going up against a defense that has held its first three opponents to 2.4 yards per carry.

2. The pressure on Kyle Orton: Jim Johnson blitzed heavily vs. the Steelers and there’s every reason to believe he’ll do the same against Orton and the Bears, particularly if the Eagles can put the Bears in a lot of third-and-long situations. Eagles have allowed opponents to convert just three of 22 third-down situations of 6 yards or more in the first three games.

3. The Eagles’ finishing kick: The Eagles’ offense has had trouble going the distance. They scored 40 points in the first half the last 2 weeks against the Cowboys and Steelers and just 12 in the second half. Donovan McNabb has averaged an eye-popping 10.1 yards per attempt in the first half this season, only 4.4 in the second.

4. The linebackers in coverage: The Eagles’ young linebacking corps has been almost flawless against the run, but still is a work in progress in coverage. They’ll be tested by the Bears, who figure to throw a lot to their backs and tight ends.

5. Battle of the return men: The Bears’ Devin Hester is the league’s best returner, but he was inactive last week with torn rib cartilage. Even if he plays, Eagles almost certainly will kick away from him. Rookies DeSean Jackson and Quintin Demps give the Eagles a dangerous pair of returners.

Look for more on the matchup in Friday's Eagles Playbook in the Daily News.