On Wild Card weekend, we'll find out how magical Nick Foles really is when his Eagles face by far the best defense of 2018. The offensive of the Eagles against the Bears defense is a fascinating battle of styles.
The defense of Chicago is great because they are so nuanced and blurry in the zone coverage. The eagle's offense is aimed at covering the zone with punches. The eagles will flood one side of a zone with three receivers, often one deep, one middle and one below. On the other hand, they are defenders of the high-low single zone, usually either Alshon Jeffery with oversized width or probably all-pro-tight end Zach Ertz, who performs the "high" route.
But this zone suggests route combinations only work if the quarterback knows what kind of zone he sees. Bear's defensive coordinator Vic Fangio makes it difficult. In addition, the Bears have answers to many Zone Beater designs because their back-level defenders are as well-trained as converting the zone coverage into a man's cover. The tricky part is that not every defender of the Bears will do this at a certain moment. Some are converted to humans while others stay in the zone ̵
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But even well-played hybrid covers with ball-hungry stars like safety Eddie Jackson and corner Kyle Fuller can collapse late. Foles does not have the mobility to expand games outside the pocket, but during his magical run – both this year and last year – he had an uncanny ability to stretch games in his pocket.
The Bears swapped Khalil Mack to prevent QBs from extending games, but the Eagles may be the only team whose right tackle, Lane Johnson, has the defensive end to the superstar. When Johnson's mechanics are in sync, he is by far the most athletic passport blocker of the game. In fact, two weeks ago he won a four-quarter Mano-a-Mano battle against J.J. Watt. If Johnson Mack can block one-to-one, the Eagles Macks colleague Superstar, Akiem Hicks, and can still bring out all five eligible receivers on routes.
Defensive, especially the Eagles On the first and second descent you often have a depth of security and are playing off zones. That's exactly what a reference to a wrong direction like Chicago wants. The defenders of the zone easily watch the backfield and the ball, and so they see all the moving parts of Matt Nagy's scheme: pull-blocker, jet-sweeper, ghost-reverse receiver, orbit motion receiver, rear blockage and of course the Ball. The Bears use many of these tactics simultaneously and in all different directions. Philly's linebacker and defender must be disciplined. You'll need to focus on Tarik Cohen (the key to many tactics of misguidance) while relying on weapons like Trey Burton and (assuming he's back in the lineup) Allen Robinson.
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The Eagles play foreseeable zone coverage because they trust their line of defense will quickly destroy games. This D-Line, which was named Philly's Super Bowl Run 2017, is rolling after a sluggish September, October and November. Inside, Michael Bennett and especially Fletcher Cox threaten to invade quickly and / or forcefully. Bear's right guard Kyle Long recently returned from an eight-week absence due to a foot injury. Bennett and Cox will try to figure out how healthy (and fit) Long really is.
Breaking Chicago's inner O-Line achieves two things: 1) The basic zone blocking of the base game is aborted and 2) It becomes a quarterback Mitchell Trubisky plays fast.
Trubisky is a good timing and rhythm player when his bag is clean and the first reading is clear, but the water is soggy and he can quickly rely on his legs. Yes, these legs make it dangerous (both as a runner and as a scratching launcher), but only if used later in the down, as soon as coverage begins to unravel. Get Trubisky up early if your defense zones are still stable and you get sales opportunities.
Chance of a Surprise: 45%. The bears are the better team, but the experience of the eagle counts for something.
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