Thursday, December 19, 2013
Matchups to watch: Bears at Eagles
By Rob Nelson
ESPN Stats & Info
Elsa/Getty ImagesBoth the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles control their division title destinies with two weeks left in the regular season. Let’s take a look at some of the key matchups between these division leaders.
LeSean McCoy has been the best running back on zone reads this season.
Eagles zone read vs. Bears defense
The Eagles run the zone read better than any team in the NFL and it’s not close. The Eagles have rushed for 1,479 yards and nine touchdowns on zone-read runs, 886 yards and five touchdowns more than any other team.
There have been seven games in the NFL this season in which a team ran for 100 yards on zone-read rushes, with the Eagles accounting for six of them.
LeSean McCoy has more yards (1,017) and touchdowns (five) on zone-read rushes than any team this season.
Opposing teams have run 12 zone-read rushes against the Bears this season, the fewest any team has faced.
The Bears have been far from impressive in limited action against the zone read. Opposing teams are averaging 9.1 yards per rush on such runs, with only the Lions allowing more (10.1).
Jay Cutler in the Fourth Quarter vs. Eagles defense
Jay Cutler has been at his best in the fourth quarter this season. His Total QBR of 95.2 in the fourth quarter leads the NFL and is on pace to be the second-highest since 2006.
Only Peyton Manning, in his Super Bowl-winning season in 2006 posted a higher fourth-quarter Total QBR than Cutler has in 2013.
Of Cutler’s 16 passing touchdowns this season, eight have come in the fourth quarter, including two in the final 15 minutes last week against the Browns.
But something has to give in the fourth quarter Sunday, as Cutler goes against an Eagles defense that has excelled in such situations this season.
Opposing quarterbacks have posted a Total QBR of 39.8 in the fourth quarter against the Eagles, ninth lowest in the NFL. And much better than their 59.9 opponents' Total QBR in the first three quarters of the game.
Can these offenses be stopped?
The Bears are scoring 29 points per game, second most in the NFL behind the Broncos. The Eagles are the seventh-highest scoring team in the league, putting up 26 points per game. The two teams have not been as strong on the defensive end, as they both rank in the bottom half of the league in points allowed.
How many points will be scored Sunday night?
The over/under opened at 56 at the Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook, the highest total of any game in Week 16. This will be the fourth game for the Bears and 10th game for the Eagles that the Vegas over/under is in the 50s this season.
Times have certainly changed for the Chicago Bears under offensive guru Marc Trestman. In the previous 20 seasons, only one Bears game had an over/under in the 50s.