Previewing the Eagles’ Week 15 matchup with Bears Wire

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The Eagles remain the top team in the NFC East after a 48-22 win over the New York Giants Sunday

Jalen Hurts returned to the scene of his worst game Philadelphia’s leading passer with 217 yards. Third-year quarterback ran for an additional 77 yards.

The Birds will now turn their attention To the rebuilding Chicago Bears who have a young star at quarterback.

Justin Fields is hoping for the same jump in the potential that has Hurts among the NFL’s MVP candidates.

Before the game, we spoke with Alyssa Barieri, managing editor. Bears Wire to get the scoop on the Eagles’ Week 15 opponent.

Here are seven questions to ask. Bears Wire:

1.

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Jalen HUTTS and Justin Fields share many similarities as dual threat quarterbacks trying to improve their efficiency. Where has the Bears’ young quarterback improved the most since entering the NFL?

I think Fields’ decision-making has been the biggest factor, even from where he started this second season. Fields’ trust in his offensive lines, which have struggled tremendously in pass protection, and his underwhelming receiving corp, has been evident earlier in the year. This has led to Fields having a difficult time getting separation. Fields would not hesitate to open receivers when they were available. But Luke Getsy opting to fit his offense to Fields’ skillset – including utilizing his mobility, getting him out of the pocket and getting him into a quick rhythm – has paid dividends. What we’re seeing now is a confident quarterback that is just going out there and playing his game, and he’s making big plays in both the run and pass game with one of the worst rosters in the league.

2.

Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel USA TODAY Sports

Nick Sirianni, Matt Eberflus, and Nick Sirianni were both trained under Frank Reich in Indianapolis. They then went on to become head coaches. What did the former defensive coordinator do right his first year? What can Eberflus do to improve?

Eberflus has created the culture this team needed. Naturally, there was some skepticism when Flus brought his H.I.T.S. principle. But it didn’t take long for the players to buy in, as well as respect the accountability and standard in place. I think he’s also handled this 3-10 season well, especially when it comes to keeping his players focused and motivated. I don’t think there’s a glaring area where Flus needs to improve. Perhaps more experience will make things run more smoothly. Flus has been an excellent coach by stepping back and delegating responsibilities to his coaches.

3.

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images).

The Bears rank 22nd in total offense, but are the NFL’s top-ranked team in rushing. Can the current offensive system be sustained? What’s David Montgomery’s ceiling as a running back with Fields as the teams’ quarterback and primary ball carrier at times?

The Bears have been the league’s top rushing offense since the beginning of the year, and the most impressive thing has been that they’ve sustained that success despite teams knowing that’s exactly what they’re going to do. Now, obviously, Fields has been a big part of that, and he’s made defenses pay with his legs. Chicago may be able to adopt a more balanced approach going forward. We will see more emphasis on the passing games. With Fields expected to be supported by a more solid supporting cast, this should change. Montgomery has been a dependable back since his rookie season, and he’s proven on numerous occasions that he can handle the workload in this run-heavy offense. But he hasn’t been the running back that’s thrived most in the wide-zone run scheme. That’s been Khalil Herbert, who has also shown he can carry the load.

4.

Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel USA TODAY Sports

Jaquan Britsker’s safety skills are what make him so unique. He could be the player Alan Williams bases his defense around.

Brisker is everything you need in a young defensive player who can be someone you can build around. He plays with a physicality that’s impressive and impactful, and he’s proven to be a nice complement at strong safety to Eddie Jackson. Matt Eberflus admitted that Brisker has progressed a lot faster than they expected. Brisker is the leader in tackles (73), sacks (33) and has two takeaways (an interception, and a forced fumble). Counter that with the fact that he’s been doing it with one of the worst front sevens in the league, and it’s clear Brisker has a bright future ahead of him

5.

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images).

Is there anyone on the young roster who can help me identify some of the foundational players or those under-the radar players that I should be watching for both offense and defense?

On offense, it’s obviously quarterback Justin Fields, who’s made huge strides since the mini-bye week. Fields has benefitted from Luke Getsy’s scheme, as well as the decision to utilize his elite athleticism, which has made Fields arguably the most dangerous running QB in the league. He’s also improved in the passing game, although he’s down his top wideouts. Teven Jenkins has thrived in his new role at right guard, where he’s been Chicago’s best offensive lineman. Running back Khalil Herbert has benefited most from Getsy’s scheme, where he’s been a huge contributor in a reserve role, averaging 6.0 yards per carry, which leads all qualifying running backs. Herbert’s role could change next season with David Montgomery set to hit free agency.

For defense, Jaquan Bristker and Kyler Gardiner, both rookie defensive backs are building blocks to help the defense in the future. The secondary has been the biggest strength of this struggling defense, although it hasn’t always shown given Chicago’s lack of a pass rush. After a difficult start, Brisker has been a star from the beginning. Gordon is now settling in to his new role. Jack Sanborn, a rookie undrafted linebacker has made a significant impact since taking over the middle linebacker position after RoquanSmith was traded. Sanborn has shown consistency in five of his five starts and is making a strong case to be considered for a starting position.

6.

Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

What is the Bears’ biggest reason for optimism outside of Justin Fields going forward down the stretch of this season into 2023?

I think it’s the resources GM Ryan Poles has to work with this offseason when he builds this team around Fields. Poles tore this roster down to the foundation and is building it back up, so it’s nice that the Bears are projected to have the most salary cap space in the NFL, north of $120 million. They also have eight draft picks, including what’s looking like a top-three selection to land another building block for this team (or to trade back with a QB-needy team and acquire additional picks). The Bears have the perfect blueprint in the Eagles, with Fields as the most important piece.

7.

Mandatory Credit: Tom Horak USA TODAY Sports

Who is the winner and why?

This could quickly turn ugly for the Bears. While I’ll be watching for how Justin Fields fares against a dominant Eagles defense, it’s Chicago’s defense that worries me most. They haven’t been able to stop anybody – be it through the air or on the ground – with their depleted roster. Philadelphia is the better team. They should win by halftime. Eagles 41, Bears 24,

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Story originally appeared on Eagles Wire

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