This is not the position Bears fans figured they’d find themselves in at the midway point of the season. Two games behind the Detroit Lions and hanging on to the sixth overall playoff seed in the NFC by a thread.
The Bears, Falcons and Buccaneers all have identical 4-3 records and the suddenly upstart Eagles are 3-4. The Bears own the tie-breaker over both the Falcons and Bucs and are one game ahead of the Eagles in the race for the playoffs. Needless to say this game is an absolute must win for the Bears, there essentially is no tomorrow because the Bears don’t want to pull even with the Eagles at 4-4 and go down in a tie breaker to them.
Going on the road to the Eagles will be no easy task, especially on Monday Night Football given the Bears have historically struggled to play well on that rowdy night.
The Bears have faced the Eagles four straight years and only one of those games has been away from Soldier Field. The Bears’ record in those four games is 3-1 with a win on the road at Philly in 2007 by the score of 19-16.
Needless to say Eagles fans are foaming at the mouth to have the Bears come to town because they want to avenge those three losses and likely feel it’s been a huge disadvantage to have their team come to Chicago three straight years.
So this is essentially a must win game for the Bears and for the Eagles. You want to be considered a post season worthy team this is a game you have to win.
So can the Bears win this game? Uh er rah….well the Eagles lead the league in total offense so the key for the Bears in this game will be easy, run the football well to keep that offense off the field.
This game is going to be the biggest test the Bears have faced all season. Can they regain their focus after the bye week and prove that they are a team that’s capable of making the playoffs on an annual basis?
Jay Cutler needs to show up and have another big game like he did last season, when he threw four touchdown passes against the Eagles.
The pass rush also needs to show up like it did last year against the Eagles four sacks and numerous QB hits and pressures on Michael Vick.
The running game needs to show up again like it did last year 14 carries for 117 yards from Matt Forte.
Of quiet note it would help the Bears’ cause if they lined up and played well on the Eagles’ artificial surface. As silly as it might sound Brian Urlacher’s consistent year in and year out complaints about the playing surface of Soldier Field would be better taken to heart if the defense had a big game on the field turf.
Keep in mind that part of the key to the victory last year was the sloppy surface slowing down the Eagles at Soldier. The Bears were able to take advantage, and now they won’t have that same field advantage, but if Urlacher is to be taken at his word that the Bears can play faster on field turf, then this is the game to prove it against a fast team.
At this point I don’t know if the Bears are a playoff worthy team. They don’t yet have a signature win on the season and coincidentally enough, they didn’t get a signature win last season until they beat the Eagles as well.
Is this the point in which the Bears prove they ARE playoff worthy? Monday night will tell us for certain.