Bears vs. Eagles — What to Watch 4

Led by a standout front seven, the Eagles lead the NFL with 49 sacks — including 13 in the past two games. The Bears offensive line, which did not allow a sack against the Packers in Week 13, faces a big challenge.

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Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham (55, sacking Tyrod Taylor) had three of the Eagles seven sacks in a 48-22 rout of the Giants last week.

Bryan Woolston, AP Photos

KEY MATCHUP

The Eagles’ defensive front is the best in the league, with an NFL-high 49 sacks. Balance is what makes them so difficult to contain — the Eagles have five players with six or more sacks (nobody on the Bears’ current front seven has more than two).

Linebacker Haason Reddick leads the Eagles with 10 sacks. Edge rusher Brandon Graham has 8.5, including three last week against the Giants. Inside or out — from tackles Fletcher Cox (6.0) and Javon Hargrave (8.0) to Graham and Josh Sweat (7.5), the Eagles can attack you from every angle.

That’ll be a challenge for a Bears pass protection unit that has not had continuity all season — left tackle Braxton Jones is the only offensive lineman to start every game. The Bears have improved recently — Justin Fields was not sacked against the Packers in Week 13. But they’ve struggled with stunts and games and blitzes all season, and the Eagles make you pay for any mistake.

TRENDING

With quarterback Justin Fields leading all NFL quarterbacks with 905 rushing yards (7.1 average) and eight touchdowns, the Bears’ offense has two strengths in a formative season — the Bears lead the NFL in rushing (189.2 yards per game) and they are sixth in third-down conversions (45.1%).

They almost certainly will have to be good in both categories to pull off an upset here. The Eagles are 18th in rushing defense, 24th in yards per carry. They are ninth in third-down conversion defense (37.6%).

PLAYER TO WATCH

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, the leading candidate for the league MVP award, has been on a season-long roll with productive, risk-averse efficiency and is the prototypical run/pass quarterback threat the Bears are trying to develop Justin Fields into.

Hurts leads the NFL with a 108.2 passer rating (68% completions, 22 touchdowns, three interceptions) and also has rushed for 686 yards and 10 touchdowns on 139 attempts — and has not missed a snap because of injury. The Eagles are 17-2 in his last 19 starts.

X-FACTOR

Turnovers are a key to almost any big upset in the NFL and the Bears have a huge challenge to win that battle against the Eagles.

The Bears have just three takeaways in their six-game losing streak (two on defense) to drop from a tie for fifth in the NFL after Week 7 to a tie for 15th.

The Eagles lead the NFL in fewest giveaways (10), most takeaways (24) and turnover differential (plus-14). But they aren’t infallible. The Commanders, who like the Bears have 15 takeaways this season, had four against the Eagles, with a plus-2 differential in a 32-21 upset in Week 10 at Lincoln Financial Field — the Eagles’ only loss this season.

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