PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Monday Night Football. All eyes will be on Eagles at Bears and rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, who faces a true test at Soldier Field.
The Bears are far from a perfect team, but they’re no pushovers either. A strong defensive front, a talented pass-catching corps, a capable lead back, and a sporadic — but fearless — quarterback gives the Bears a chance to win any week.
Here are five things to note for tonight’s Eagles-Bears game.
5. No Zach Ertz
Ertz will miss Monday’s game with a rib displacement injury. It’s a big loss for the Eagles, as Ertz was Carson Wentz’s most efficient pass catcher in Week 1 (six catches, seven targets, 58 yards).
24-year-old Trey Burton, who has three career, catches along with the veteran Brent Celek will have to replace Ertz’s production at tight end.
4. Chicago strong upfront
Last season, the Bears allowed 120.9 rushing yards per game, just 22nd in the NFL. However, in the offseason the Bears added Jerrell Freeman to pair with Danny Trevathan at linebacker.
Freeman (17) and Trevathan (11) combined for 28 tackles in Week 1 against the Texans. Houston did rush for a 129 yards, but they needed 35 carries to get there as the Bears allowed just 3.7 yards per rush.
Freeman was Pro Football Focus’ second highest graded linebacker. Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks was first.
On the outside, the Bears have veteran LB Lamarr Houston, who had 8.0 sacks last season. They also have rookie linebacker Leonard Floyd, the team’s 9th overall pick this year. Floyd had six tackles, 0.5 sacks, and a QB hit in his NFL debut last week.
Lastly, Bears second-year defensive tackle Eddie Goldman is developing into one of the best young interior lineman in football. Last season he had 4.5 sacks as a rookie. in Week 1, Goldman had six tackles and a 0.5 sack.
3. Chicago’s beatable o-line
The Bears allowed five sacks against the Texans last week and J.J. Watt didn’t have any of them. The Texans also recorded 12 QB hits and eight tackles for loss. Bears center Cody Whitehair has switched positions and is still learning.
The Eagles recorded three sacks against the Browns last week, who ran just 50 total plays and 10 third down attempts. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has struggled against pressure throughout his career, something the Eagles hope to exploit.
2. Jalen Mills to play for Leodis McKelvin
McKelvin will miss tonight’s game with a hamstring injury, paving the way for the seventh-round rookie draft pick to see significant playing time. Mills, at 6-0, will have his hands full against two Bears’ 6-3 receivers in Pro Bowler Alshon Jeffery and youngster Kevin White.
Jeffery caught four balls for 105 yards in Week 1 on six targets, while caught just three of seven targets. Eddie Royal and Zach Miller roam the middle of the field for the Bears as well, forming a solid pass-catching corps.
1. Carson Wentz gets first true test
There’s no “but it was the Browns” after Monday night.
Monday Night Football, at Soldier Field, against the Chicago Bears, in their home opener.
Wentz dazzled in his debut, but the Eagles led for the entire game and Doug Pederson kept the rookie QB in favorable situations. Things will be much more difficult on Monday night, especially if Wentz and the Eagles have to play from behind.
The Bears’ young secondary allowed 22 catches, 231 yards, and two scores to Texans’ wide receivers in Week 1, most of which went to DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller.