When the Eagles run the ball
The Eagles’ running back-by-committee approach has been very effective. Despite just one individual 100-yard rushing performance (136 by LeGarrette Blount v. Chargers in Week 4), the Eagles own the league’s second most productive ground game (144.6 yards per game).
After being held to 35 rushing yards in the first half Sunday night by Dallas, they exploded for 180 in the second half. Jay Ajayi, who was acquired from Miami at the trade deadline, is an explosive runner who is averaging 11.1 yards per carry in his first two games with the Eagles. Seven of his 15 runs have been six yards or more, including 46- and 71-yarders.
The Eagles have averaged 5.9 yards per carry and have five rushing TDs in the last two games. They had just four in their first eight games.
The Bears are ninth in opponent rush average (3.8 yards per carry). They held the Lions to 65 yards on 24 carries last week. DEs Mitch Unrein and Akiem Hicks are one of the league’s top two-gap run-stopping tandems.
When the Eagles throw the ball
Carson Wentz leads the NFL in TD passes with 25. The only other QB with 20 or more is Tom Brady (22). He is averaging a TD pass every nine attempts in the Eagles’ last six games. Wentz also is keeping interceptions to a minimum. He has just three in his last 246 attempts.
Wentz’s chemistry with Alshon Jeffery continues to improve. Jeffery had four catches for 67 yards and a TD against the Cowboys. The TD catch was his fourth in the red zone. He also had two third-down catches, bringing his season total to a team-high 15.
Slot receiver Nelson Agholor had two drops against the Cowboys. In the last three games, he has just six catches for 60 yards and three first downs.
Seventeen of Wentz’s 25 TD passes have been in the red zone. The Eagles, who lead the league in red-zone offense, are the only team without a turnover or sack in the red zone.
The Bears lost one of their top pass-rushers — OLB Leonard Floyd — to a knee injury last week. They are third in the league in sacks per pass play, but have just four interceptions.
When the Bears run the ball
The Bears are fifth in the league in rushing (131.8 yards per game) and sixth in rush average (4.5 yards per carry). They are averaging 29 rush attempts per game and are second in run-play percentage (48.2), just ahead of the Eagles.
Jordan Howard, who was taken three picks ahead of the Eagles’ Wendell Smallwood in the fifth round of the 2016 draft, is third in the league in rushing with 841 yards. He’s a big back with excellent vision. He notched his fourth 100-yard game of the season last week against the Lions (125 yards on 15 carries).
Rookie Tarik Cohen had 44 yards on nine carries against the Lions. The Eagles weren’t as good against the run Sunday night as they have been, but they’re still holding teams to a league-best 71.0 yards per game.
The Cowboys had four double-digit-yard runs against the Eagles, which was the most they’ve given up in a game this season. During their eight-game win streak, the Eagles have held opponents to 2.7 yards per carry on first down.
When the Bears throw the ball
Mitch Trubisky has a 78.2 passer rating since replacing Mike Glennon as the starter in Week 5. He’s thrown just four TD passes in six starts, but also has only two interceptions.
The Bears are a run-first team. Trubisky is averaging just 24.2 attempts per game, though that’s jumped to 30.2 over the last three games. Like Dak Prescott, he is a mobile quarterback who can extend plays.
Chicago’s receiving corps has been decimated by injuries. Cohen is their leading receiver (33 catches). They acquired WR Dontrelle Inman from the Chargers last month. He’s a big target (6-3, 205) who has nine catches for 131 yards in two games.
The Eagles have an NFL-high 14 interceptions, including three last week against Dallas. They are tied for third in sacks with 29. They have held opponents to 6.3 yards per attempt during their eight-game win streak.
Seven of the defense’s 14 interceptions have come on third down Eagles have a 46.6 opponent passer rating on third down. Just 28 of their opponents’ 54 third-down completions have produced a first down.
Jake Elliott suffered a concussion on the opening kickoff Sunday night, but is likely to play Sunday. If he can’t, Caleb Sturgis will be activated from injured reserve. Elliott has made 17 of 21 FG attempts, including 5 of 6 from 50-plus yards. since replacing Sturgis in Week 2. The Bears released struggling PK Connor Barth earlier this week and replaced him with Cairo Santos. Santos has an 84.8 career FG accuracy rate.
The Bears’ coverage teams have had their problems. They are last in the league in punt coverage (12.1 yards per return) and 27th in kickoff coverage (24.4). They gave up a 77-yard punt return and 96-yard kick return for touchdowns in a three-point loss to the Ravens in Week 8. Kenjon Barner, who has replaced Darren Sproles as the Eagles’ punt returner, is third in the league in punt return average (11.4). Bears P Pat O’Donnell is sixth in the league in gross average (48.0), but has had 52.8 percent of his attempts returned. So Barner will get opportunities Sunday. Rookie Tarik Cohen handles both KRs and PRs. He is fourth in KR average (24.4).
Eagles 38, Bears 17
Eagles RG Brandon Brooks and C Jason Kelce vs. Bears DE Akiem Hicks
Hicks leads Bears in sacks and is one of the keys to their run defense. Brooks and Kelce both are having excellent seasons.
Eagles WRs Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith vs. Bears CBs Prince Amukamara and Kyle Fuller
Jeffery has four red-zone TD catches and leads Eagles in third-down receptions.
Eagles LBs Mychal Kendricks and Nigel Bradham vs. Bears RB Jordan Howard
Howard is third in the league in rushing and has four 100-yard games. Eagles haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher this season.
RB Jay Ajayi is averaging 11.2 yards per carry in his two games with the Birds.
RB Jordan Howard. Is third in the NFL in rushing with 841 yards and 5 TDs.
WR Nelson Agholor had 2 drops vs. the Cowboys and has just 6 catches for 60 yards in last 3 games.
QB Mitch Trubisky has a 53.1 completion percentage and just 4 TD passes in 145 attempts.