Four Downs: Keys to beating the Eagles (09/19/16)

A look at four keys for the Bears to beat the Philadelphia Eagles.

1. Control the line of scrimmage

The Bears were just awful at the point of attack against the Houston Texans in Week 1, which took them out of their game plan in the second half and they managed just 73 rushing yards. It also allowed the Texans to sack Jay Cutler five times. It’s no wonder they were stagnant after halftime. The Bears offensive line needs to do a better job blowing the Eagles off the line and creating running lanes for Jeremy Langford. They also need to protect Cutler better to give the receivers time to create separation down field — another problem in Game 1.

2. Challenge Carson Wentz to read the defense

The rookie quarterback had a great first game for the Eagles, but it was against the Cleveland Browns. The Bears have a much more formidable defensive coordinator in Vic Fangio whose schemes alone can help make a defense better. You can expect Wentz to receive a challenge playing under the bright lights of Monday Night Football on the road with Fangio calling an array of coverages and sending pressure from multiple gaps and alignments.

3. Set a physical tone early

The Bears can’t wait until late in the game to establish some kind of momentum. They have to come out of the gates from the opening whistle and crack some skulls. The run game has to impose its will or else they put Cutler and the passing game in an unenviable position. Special teams has to be solid and give the Bears the benefit of good field position from which to begin their drives.

4. Clean up the sloppiness

The preseason is over and any residual effects that spilled over into Week 1 should now be out of their system. The Bears have to play a clean football game, cut down on penalties, get on the same page — I’m looking at you, Cutler and Kevin White — start working as one functioning unit — that’s you, newly-constructed offensive line — and by all means possible protecting the football and winning the turnover battle.

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