If trap games do exist, this is the trappiest of trap games.
The NFC’s best team against its worst.
More so, the 12-1 Eagles visit 3-10 Chicago in the second of three consecutive road games in between divisional foes.
“I don’t really believe [in trap games] because if your preparation is the same each and every week, it doesn’t really matter,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said. “We all understand this, is that everybody in this league can play. Everybody in this league, if you’re not on your game, can beat you.
“We know about this team that we’re playing, whether their record is what it is, but they have been in every single game. … You see it on tape. You see, hey, this is a good team. They have players at every level. They have offense, they have defense, I know they’re well coached, so they’ve been in every game.”
Here’s our Countdown to Kickoff…
5…PLAYERS TO WATCH
Eagles LB Kyzir White – It’s hard to imagine the Eagles’ defense going full-on spy with Fields but there will certainly be times the speedy White will be asked to mirror the Chicago QB to try to limit some of his explosive runs.
Eagles QB Jalen Hurts – The MVP candidate is no slouch running the football and Hurts is one TD shy of breaking his own franchise record that he set in 2021 and matched this season. He’s also only three TDs shy of Randall Cunningham’s franchise record of 35 set in 1990. Hurts currently has 22 TD passes and 10 scoring runs.
Bears QB Justin Fields – Fields was ill earlier this week but the dynamic second-year player is ready to go. He is the key to Chicago’s No. 1 ranked running game with 905 rushing yards and set an NFL regular-season record for QBs earlier this season with 178 yards against Miami and is on the verge of breaking Bobby Douglass’ franchise record that has stood for 50 years (968).
The Fields factor allowed the Bears to rush for at least 225 yards in five consecutive games in Weeks 6-10, the first team in NFL History to rush for 225-plus in five consecutive games.
Bears RB David Montgomery– Montgomery is the Miles Sanders of the Bears, the traditional lead back that has things a little bit easier because of the plus-one in the running game at QB. Montgomery is 151 yards shy of his second 1,000-yard campaign in his third professional season. He’s also a solid receiver out of the backfield. He is, however, more of a chain mover than a home-run hitter.
Bears S Jaquan Brisker – The strength of Chicago’s 19th-ranked defense is the secondary and Brisker has been its biggest playmaker, at least since safety Eddie Jackson went down with an injury. The Penn State product is one of three defensive backs in the NFL to have at least 3.0 sacks and an interception, along with Dallas’ Donovan Wilson and Tampa Bay’s Antoine Winfield Jr. He missed the past two games with a concussion but is set to return vs. the Eagles.
4… MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Eagles’ offensive line vs. Bears’ defensive line – This might be the biggest individual mismatch all season when it comes to positional groups. The Philadelphia offensive line is regarded as the NFL’s best and the Chicago defensive front is the league’s worst so much so that veteran Robert Quinn, who was traded to the Eagles to be the fourth DE, was the guy getting all the double teams for the Bears.
Eagles’ secondary vs. Justin Fields – Chicago hasn’t given Fields much help in the passing game and the Bears average just 140.6 yards per game through the air. The young QB also has 10 interceptions so you can bet the Eagles’ savvy cornerbacks – Darius Slay and James Bradberry – will be trying to bait the young signal caller.
Miles Sanders vs. Bears’ front seven – The Bears aren’t bad when it comes to pass defense even without Jackson, ranking No. 11 overall. They don’t stop the running game, however, and dealt star linebacker, Roquan Smith, to Baltimore. It’s supposed to be cold with the trademarked stiff breeze in the Windy City on Sunday so the traditional running game might be what Shane Steichen leans on this week.
Nick Sirianni vs Matt Eberflus – In the first battle of Frank Reich’s former offensive coordinator vs. his ex-defensive coordinator, the talent level is stacked against Eberflus but Sirianni is convinced that the Bears’ mentor is a solid coach who will have his team ready to go.
3… THINGS TO KNOW
-This rivalry dates back to the Eagles’ first season as a franchise when they played for the first time on Nov. 12, 1933, a game at Philadelphia that ended in a 3-3 tie. That’s the only tie in the series’ history. Chicago has a significant advantage in the overall series with a 28-13-1 edge and is 15-5 against the Eagles in the Second City.
-The Eagles lead the NFL in scoring at 29.7 points per game and are riding a three-game streak of scoring 35 or more.
-Philadelphia has scored 50 touchdowns this season, four shy of the franchise record of 54 in 2014 with four games to play.
For the Eagles: TE Dallas Goedert – The star tight end is expected to be activated off injured reserve on Saturday after missing the previous four games with a fractured glenoid in his shoulder. The addition of Goedert back into the mix creates an even greater pick-your-poison scenario for Eberflus and his DC Alan Williams.
For the Bears: TE Cole Kmet – The former Notre Dame star had a tough start to the season but has gotten progressively better in recent weeks to the point he’s been one of the Bears’ best pure football players, grading out as the 13th best TE in the NFL by Pro Football Focus. He’s not nearly as explosive as Goedert but offers a similar dynamic as one of the few TEs in the modern game who helps as a receiver and a blocker.
John McMullen (11-2, 4-9 vs. the spread) – If anyone got disrespected this week, it wasn’t Hurts via Parsons, it was the Bears, the one-time Monsters of the Midway who aren’t scaring anyone these days.
Fields is gifted but he has been disserviced by a defensive-minded rookie head coach hiring an offensive coordinator in Luke Getsy whose claim to fame is getting out of Aaron Rodgers’ way. Meanwhile, the GM who hatched this plan, Ryan Poles, is also a rookie who decided to strip down and rebuild the roster so the talent level around Fields is among the worst in the NFL.
The offense is almost Cunningham-esque during the Buddy Ryan era when it was “just go make a play.” The lack of structure and consistency will doom the Bears even though the expectation here is that not only do trap games exist, this is the definition of one.
Sirianni’s team wouldn’t be human if it wasn’t looking ahead to the Cowboys. The expectation is that the Eagles do take the Bears lightly and maybe the weather – projected to be cold and windy – creates an issue or two on top of that but the talent disparity is so great that the Eagles still win easily.
EAGLES 31, BEARS 15
Ed Kracz (11-2, 7-6 vs. the spread)
The Eagles say they aren’t overlooking the Bears. I am.
The beat goes on and Philly gets to 13-1.
EAGLES 35, BEARS 16
–John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com’s Eagles Today and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on YouTube. John is also the host of his own show “Football 24/7 and a daily contributor to ESPN South Jersey. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen