Reese, Didinger expect home-field Eagles to make Sunday a nightmare for Bears

Dave Uram
November 01, 2019 - 9:33 am
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) greets Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (left) after a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at Soldier Field.

Quinn Harris/USA TODAY Sports

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Home sweet home. 

The Eagles will be back at the Linc on Sunday afternoon for the first time since Oct. 6, when they host the Bears in a rematch of last season's "Double-Doink" playoff victory. 

To be frank, Chicago is a mess right now. The latest defeat came after another kicking debacle, and in addition to their three-game slide, their quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky, is struggling. He has only had a quarterback rating above 90.0 once this season. 

The Bears bring a Top 10 defense to South Philadelphia, but there's no reason Eagles fans should be going home upset this weekend. 

The Voice of the Eagles Merrill Reese's three keys to victory are get on the board first, watch out for Chicago's superstar linebacker and get the running game going to open things up offensively. He told KYW Newsradio:

1. "Score first. That's only happeend twice this season, and both times the Eagles won. The Bears are a desperate team mired in a three-game losing streak. Put them in a 'Here we go again' frame of mind."

2. "Account for No. 52 Khalil Mack on every play. He's one of the most prolific pass rushers in the NFL, and he's also equally adept at tracking down ball carriers."

3. "Work the running the game. Let No. 24 Jordan Howard pound away at his former teammates. When they least expect it, have Carson Wentz drop back and fire the ball 50 yards downfield to the happy-to-be-back DeSean Jackson. Oh, and one more thing, when the receivers are covered and there's an open lane, Carson Wentz should take off and then slide."

Reese is crossing his fingers that Jackson will return this weekend after missing most of the last seven games with an abdominal injury. 

Related: Eagles players excited as teammates getting healthier

"You know, maybe I want to think that DeSean's going to play on Sunday," Reese said. "I know he's taking a limited part in the practices and I have a feeling that he could be out there Sunday. And if he is, I'd love to see him running by himself downfield."

Jackson isn't the only Eagle potentially returning this weekend. Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan and running back Darren Sproles have practiced a little more this week as well. Cornerback Avonte Maddox is primed to come back after suffering a very serious and scary neck injury against the Packers. 

"Well, if they come back and are really healthy and ready to play, then you're back to the team that you were in Week 1, which is a pretty good team," WIP's and NBC Sports Philadelphia's Ray Didinger told KYW Newsradio. "That was a team a lot of people thought was going to win this division and maybe make a run at the Super Bowl." 

Didinger thinks the key matchup this weekend is neutralizing Mack, who he called a "game wrecker." 

"If you can't block him, then you're going to have all kinds of trouble making first downs, much less touchdowns against that team. He's one of the elite pass rushers in football, and their defense really does start there. It doesn't end there but it starts there. And so, that's the Eagles' No. 1priority coming into this game." 

Didinger believes the Eagles need to maintain a strong running game — maybe not pound the ball 41 times, but around 30. If they do that, he thinks they can be 5-4 going into the bye week. 

"The Bears, just look at their offense, they just don't seem to have an offensive identity. Two weeks ago, they had a game where they threw the ball 54 times and ran it just seven. Then, they come back last week and then ran the ball 38 times. It just looks like the head coach, Matt Nagy, just doesn't know what he wants to be. I mean he's so confused with his offense right now. He doesn't seem to have any idea of an offensive identity. And a lot of it is really (Trubisky)."

He thinks Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky has regressed, and the Eagles need to take advantage of that. The defense needs to use the home crowd to their advantage and make his afternoon a nightmare. 

"I can't see them coming into the Linc on Sunday and scoring very many points. The Eagles may struggle to score some points, too, because the Bears defense is going to put up a fight, but I just can't see the Bears generating many, many points at all."

Didinger is predicting the Eagles will win 23-14. I'm going with 27-21.