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Surging Eagles and Bears to come face to face

Philadelphia is confident, and its trump card is likely to be its home-field advantage. However, Chicago is optimistic its offensive line has settled down and learned from past mistakes.

November 06, 2011|By Lance Pugmire
  • Michael Vick led the Eagles to a 34-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys during last Sunday's game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
Michael Vick led the Eagles to a 34-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys during… (Chris Trotman / Getty Images )

The depth of the strides the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears have made in recent weeks will be tested Monday when the pair of defending division champions square off in Philadelphia.

"After what I saw last week, it makes me very optimistic that I can go out there and execute against any defense," Eagles quarterback Michael Vick said on facing Dallas' complex defense.

Vick is 0-3 as a starter against the Bears (4-3), with three interceptions and 15 sacks surrendered against Coach Lovie Smith's "Tampa-2" defense.

"I have the ground rules and know what it takes to make sure that I can get us in the right protection calls and make the plays downfield when necessary," Vick said.

The confidence was born in last week's 34-7 dismantling of the Dallas Cowboys, as Vick completed 21 of 28 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns, while the Eagles' defense muted its second straight opponent to less than 290 yards.

The effects of a four-game losing streak have given way to polished execution in back-to-back wins. Running back LeSean McCoy epitomizes the breakthrough. He buried the Cowboys with 30 carries for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

Philadelphia's trump card is likely to be its home-field advantage.

The Bears will enter another raucous road territory after their offensive line unraveled in New Orleans in September, giving up six sacks in a 30-13 loss. On Oct. 10, the line committed eight false starts in a 24-13 Monday night loss at Detroit.

Things settled in consecutive victories over Minnesota and Tampa Bay, however, and last week was a bye.

"Hopefully, we've learned from it," Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler told the team's website. "Hopefully we'll limit our turnovers and our false starts and get the calls in and hopefully it's smooth. We won't know until we get into Monday though."

The beneficiary of an upgraded line performance on the road would be running back Matt Forte, who's rushed for 348 yards in the last three games.

"We've learned a lot about ourselves," Bears Coach Lovie Smith told reporters. "I can talk about it forever. We need to get to Monday — tough environment to play in, but I think we're ready for the challenge."

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