PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — They’re not the hated Dallas Cowboys, the New York Giants, or even the Washington Redskins, but the Chicago Bears have become the closest thing to a rival for the Philadelphia Eagles outside of the NFC East.
In a league in which teams that are not in the same division can often go several years without playing head-to-head, the Eagles and Bears have become quite familiar with one another. The two teams will meet for the fifth straight year and for the ninth time in twelve seasons when Chicago visits the Linc on Monday night.
“We’ve had an opportunity to play them quite a few times, so they know us, we know them, and it should lead for an exciting, good football game,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “Every time we play each other, each of us adds a new little wrinkle. I’m sure they feel the same way. They have a pretty good grasp on what we do, and likewise with us.”
When the Eagles and Bears get together, it usually is a good football game. In fact, in each of the last four meetings the game was decided by fewer than six points, with Chicago winning three of those four contests, including their last visit to Philadelphia in 2007.
“The Chicago Bears are an excellent football team, and they have been for many years,” said Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. “They’re well coached, they’ve got talent, they’ve got some exceptional players on defense. Really, they do, Pro-Bowl type players for many, many years. They play on a high level on a consistent basis. The only time they’ve had bad years it seems like is when half their squad was injured, and some of those key players.”
It’s that Pro-Bowl caliber defense that has stymied Eagles quarterback Michael Vick over the course of his NFL career. While most teams struggle to contain Vick, the Bears have been the exception. In five games against Chicago, three as a starter, Vick is winless, including last year’s 31-26 loss at Soldier Field, a game that saw Vick get sacked four times.
“They have a good pass rush. Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher lead that defense and they get a lot of pressure,” said Vick. “We just need to play good football. They’re great football players, and this is what this game is all about, it’s the best against the best. We’ll see what happens.”
A win has to happen for the Eagles (3-4) if they’re going to keep pace with the Giants (6-2) and Cowboys (4-4) in the NFC East. Both teams won on Sunday, while the Redskins (3-5) continued their slide, dropping their fourth straight.
Reported by Dan Majka, CBS Philly.