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Bears set to battle Eagles

Posted Dec 22, 2013

The Bears will try to win their third straight and enhance their bolster their playoff chances Sunday night when they visit the Eagles in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA — The Bears will try to win their third straight and bolster their playoff chances Sunday night when they visit the Eagles in Philadelphia.

The Bears (8-6) would clinch the NFC North title with a win and losses by both the Packers (7-6-1) to the Steelers in Green Bay and the Lions (7-7) to the Giants in Detroit earlier Sunday.

Jay Cutler and the Bears will look for their third straight win Sunday night in Philadelphia.
If the Lions lose and the Packers win, the NFC North title would go to the winner of next weekend's Bears-Packers game at Soldier Field regardless of what transpires in Philadelphia.

If the Lions win and the Packers lose, the Bears would need to beat the Eagles to maintain control of their own destiny over Detroit while also eliminating Green Bay from playoff contention. The Bears would then need a win over the Packers or a loss by the Lions to the Vikings in Minnesota next weekend to claim the division crown.

If the Lions win and the Bears lose Sunday, the Bears would only win the division with a victory over the Packers coupled with a Detroit loss to the Vikings.

If the Bears, Packers and Lions all win or all lose Sunday, Detroit would be eliminated and the winner of next weekend's Chicago-Green Bay game would capture the NFC North title.

Quarterback Jay Cutler will make his second straight start Sunday night. Last weekend he rebounded from two first-half interceptions to throw three TD passes in leading the Bears to a 38-31 comeback win in Cleveland that helped catapult them into first place.

The Bears offense features two 1,000-yard receivers and one 1,000-yard rusher for only the second time in franchise history. Brandon Marshall has 90 receptions for 1185 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Alshon Jeffery has caught 80 passes for 1,265 yards and seven TDs. They have combined for 2,450 yards, the most by any two teammates in the NFL.

Matt Forte ranks third in the NFL in rushing with 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns on 258 carries and is third in the league with 1,722 yards from scrimmage, having caught 66 passes for 522 yards and 2 TDs. The 66 receptions are the most ever by a Bears running back.

The Bears will face an Eagles defense that has held nine of its last 10 opponents to 21 points or less. The unit is led by linebackers DeMeco Ryans and Trent Cole.

The Eagles offense is potent on the ground and in the air; running back LeSean McCoy leads the league in rushing with 1,343 yards, while quarterback Nick Foles tops the NFL with a 117.0 passer rating.

McCoy has rushed for 217, 184, 158, and 155 yards in games this season and leads the NFL with 1,850 yards from scrimmage, having caught 45 passes for 507 yards.

Ranked No. 1 in the NFL in rushing, the Eagles possess a huge advantage on paper against a Bears run defense that remains last in the league. But there were signs of progress last Sunday when the unit surrendered only 93 yards on the ground against the Browns after yielding an average of 204 yards the previous seven games

Foles, who replaced Michael Vick as the Eagles' starting quarterback, has passed for 2,398 yards with 23 touchdowns and two interceptions. His favorite target is receiver DeSean Jackson, who has 75 receptions for 1,275 yards and nine TDs.

The good news for the Bears is that linebacker Lance Briggs is expected to return after missing the last seven games with a fractured shoulder. Briggs would pair with veteran defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff, who has improved each week since making his Bears debut Dec. 1 against the Vikings after missing over a year following groin surgery.

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