Thursday Night Football: Eagles Eyes on Bears

As the Chicago Bears visit the Miami Dolphins tonight on Thursday Night Football, the Philadelphia Eagles will be keeping a close eye on the Bears, their opponent next week.

Chicago is 6-3, tied atop the NFC North with the Green Bay Packers, despite scoring just 175 points, the third fewest of any team with a winning record.  The Bears are getting it done with dominant defense, having given up the second fewest points in the league, just 16.2 per game.

Tonight’s game may have the Eagles defensive line licking its chops, as the Bears have allowed a league-worst 33 sacks.  The pounding has affected Jay Cutler, who has thrown 9 interceptions through 8 games of action and lost four fumbles.  From a Philadelphia perspective, keep an eye on what the Bears do to try to help their offensive line, as that will be a point of focus next week.

Expect the Bears defense to look particularly dominant tonight though against a Dolphins team that is down to Tyler Thigpen at quarterback with injuries to Chad Pennington and Chad Henne.  Miami’s offense had already struggled enough, sitting last in the AFC with 17.9 points per game going into last weekend before losing its top two quarterbacks.

While Chicago doesn’t get a ton of pressure on quarterbacks, the Bears are 28th in sacks with just 13, their hard hitting style leads to turnovers.  Chicago is tied for the league lead with 14 forced fumbles and tied for second with 14 interceptions.

At the end of the day, Chicago grinds out close, ugly wins and loses close, ugly games.  Four of the Bears six wins were in one possession games, while two of their three losses came by one score or less.

That said, outside of the division-rival Packers, the Bears haven’t beaten a team with a winning record.  Their other five victories came against the Lions, Cowboys, Panthers, Bills and Vikings, a combined 9-36.

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