The Bears defense will face one of its most difficult tests of the season Sunday against a high-powered Eagles offense in Philadelphia.
The unit features the NFL’s second-ranked rushing attack and a potent passing game that’s led by talented second-year quarterback Carson Wentz.
“They do a lot of things from a schematic standpoint,” said defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. “They’ll spread you out. They run the zone read. They’ve got good schemed runs too. They play all their backs. They’re the highest-scoring team in the league for a reason. They’re a tough opponent to prepare for, but we’ll prepare.”
Outside linebacker Pernell McPhee and the Bears will be challenged by one of the NFL’s top offenses Sunday in Philadelphia.
The Eagles have won eight straight games and lead the NFL with 320 points and a 132-point differential. They have compiled at least 26 points in nine of 10 games this season and have scored 34, 33, 51 and 37 points in their last four contests.
Philadelphia’s offense is operated by Wentz, the second overall pick in last year’s draft. The 6-5, 237-pounder has completed 59.7 percent of his passes for 2,430 yards with 25 touchdowns, five interceptions and a 103.4 passer rating that ranks fourth in the NFL.
“He’s just gotten better and better in all facets of the game,” Fangio said. “You could see his talent last year early. He’s got better command of the offense. They do a lot on offense. They’re a very diversified offense in the way they try to attack all teams, both in the run game and the passing game and he’s managing it very well and operating it very well. You would never know it’s just his second season.”
Wentz possesses the awareness and athleticism to extend plays with his feet.
“He’s very strong in the pocket,” Fangio said. “He’ll hang in there. He’s got really good pocket feel to step one way or the other and he can scramble outside of the pocket and throw on the run or pull it down and run, and they do a really good job with their boot game. They use his skill set that way. He’s a very multi-faceted guy right now.”
Tight end Zach Ertz leads the Eagles with 45 receptions for 536 yards and six touchdowns, while former Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery has caught 38 passes for 567 yards and six TDs.
“His size and catch radius is the first thing that grabs your attention,” Fangio said of Jeffery. “He’s got deceptive route-running ability and deceptive speed too. He’s a good player.
“Their running game is so good and diversified that teams have had to play them in a lot of one-on-one coverage and he’s had a good year. He’s in a good offense now for his skill set.”
The Eagles have a powerful ground game led by LaGarrette Blount (122 carries for 561 yards and two touchdowns), Corey Clement (54-232-4) and Jay Ajayi (15-168-1), who was acquired in an Oct. 31 trade with the Miami Dolphins.
In two games with the Eagles, Ajayi has rushed for 168 yards and one TD on 15 carries.
“He’s a complete back,” Fangio said. “He’s a good runner. He hits up there, runs with good size and power, runs behind his pads. He’s a natural running back in that I mean he sees the hole, sees where the ball should go and does a good job of that, and he’s obviously picked up their offense pretty quickly.”