Game Predictions & Player Projections - PHI vs. CHI

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: PHI 20, CHI 24 (Line: CHI by 3)

UPDATE: Zach Ertz remains out with his rib injury and has not practiced.

The Eagles handled the visiting Browns with little trouble and last year they were actually better on the road than at home. The Bears return for their home opener after losing in Houston. This is a coin flip game but the Bears are the home team this week and they are not the Browns.

Philadelphia Eagles

1 CLE 29-10 10 ATL ---
2 @CHI --- 11 @SEA ---
3 PIT --- 12 GB ---
4 BYE --- 13 @CIN ---
5 @DET --- 14 WAS ---
6 @WAS --- 15 @BAL ---
7 MIN --- 16 NYG ---
8 @DAL --- 17 DAL ---
9 @NYG ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
PHI @ CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Wentz 250,1
RB Ryan Mathews 70,1
RB Darren Sproles 10 6-50
WR Nelson Agholor 4-60
WR Dorial Green-Beckham 2-30
WR Jordan Matthews 6-90,1
TE Brent Celek 2-20
PK Caleb Sturgis 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Carson Wentz era started with a bang and for at least one week the new Frank Reich offense looked solid and balanced. Losing Zach Ertz for any amount of time will hurt but at least the bye comes in Week 4 should his ribs need that much time to heal. At least the next two weeks go against no better than average defenses.

QUARTERBACK : His first game was impressive though the Browns defense can make anyone look better. Carson Wentz not only passed for 278 yards and two scores, but had no interceptions. Wentz missed time this summer when he had a rib injury but he looked in command of the offense and passed accurately. He even made Nelson Agholor look good which was a welcomed first.

RUNNING BACK : Ryan Mathews was the heavy-use back with 22 carries for 77 yards and one score though he had no catches. Darren Sproles only ran five times for 12 yards and caught just two passes for 24 yards. Wentz did not rely on backs as receivers much in this game. Kenjon Barner also had four rushes for 42 yards. This is still a committee but at least Mathews is getting enough touches to merit a fantasy start. Sproles needs more catches to matter in fantasy terms and that should be coming as early as this week since Zach Ertz is likely to miss this week.

WIDE RECEIVER : Wentz knew where to throw. He targeted Jordan Matthews 14 times for seven catches and 114 yards plus a touchdown. The best surprise was Nelson Agholor turning five passes into four receptions for 57 yards and one score. That already matches his best game as a rookie. Dorial Green-Beckham caught two short passes but this passing attack focused on the two starting wideouts and the tight end. With Ertz looking likely to miss time, Nelson and Matthews will need to be even more involved.

TIGHT END : Zach Ertz ended with six catches for 58 yards but suffered a displacement of a rib and although he played with the injury last week, he won't be risked until it is healed because it could become further injured. Brent Celek would step in to start but that is a downgrade. Passes are more likely to end up with wideouts or running backs.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Bears will be at home so the defense should be at least incrementally better. They gave up almost all the passing yardage last week to the two starting wideouts for the Texans so that bodes well for Matthews and Nelson. They also gave up 106 rushing yards to Lamar Miller though Ryan Mathews is not likely to get a similar 28 carries to get there.

Wentz is a moderate start and still risky as a rookie. Mathews is a solid start and Sproles could be a flex play assuming that the offense shifts to throwing more to him with Ertz out. Jordan Matthews is a must start and Agholor is still too risky to be anything more than a flex desperation play.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PHI 13 15 8 9 11 4
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 17 12 21 20 27 27

 

 

Chicago Bears

1 @HOU 14-23 10 @TB ---
2 PHI --- 11 @NYG ---
3 @DAL --- 12 TEN ---
4 DET --- 13 SF ---
5 @IND --- 14 @DET ---
6 JAC --- 15 GB ---
7 @GB --- 16 WAS ---
8 MIN --- 17 @MIN ---
9 BYE ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
CHI vs PHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler 250,2
RB Jeremy Langford 100,1 2-10
WR Alshon Jeffery 5-120,1
WR Eddie Royal 2-20,1
WR Kevin White 3-50
TE Zach Miller 3-20
PK Connor Barth 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The first game out for the offense that Adam Gase left behind and the results were mediocre but on the road in Houston that was to be expected. The Bears won't face another defense that good until Week 8 when they host the Vikings. Facing the visiting Eagles will be one of the softest matchups of the year and one that the Bears need to win.

QUARTERBACK : Jay Cutler passed for just 216 yards and one score last week and he had one interception. Worse yet - he was sacked five times. He only completed 16 of 29 passes and no receiver had more than four catches. With Alshon Jeffery as the only proven talent, Cutler needs to find more success with at least one other receiver. The loss of Martellus Bennett doesn't look to be filled merely by promoting Zach Miller up to being the starter.

RUNNING BACK : The good news is that Jeremy Langford had all but one of the running back rushes. And he scored once but his 17 rushing attempts only totaled 57 yards for a 3.4 yard average. That should improve over the next few weeks if not dramatically. Cutler only threw four passes to the running backs and they all went to Langford who caught two for five yards. Whatever there is to get, at least Langford looks to be hoarding it.

WIDE RECEIVER : Alshon Jeffery ended with 105 yards on four catches last week thanks mostly to a 54-yard catch. He only had six targets in the game same as Eddie Royal who caught the only touchdown on his four receptions for 57 yards. The most targeted was actually Kevin White with seven and he ended with three catches for 34 yards. It is great that the Bears are trying to get White into the game but he remains still raw and rusty and will likely take time to become a factor. Until then, Jeffery is the best bet to lead the group and that is not lost on the opposing defense.

TIGHT END : That Zach Miller would only get four passes that turned into three catches for 14 yards is a big disappointment. Martellus Bennett was a big part of the passing equation last year but so far Miller looks more like a blocker than a receiver. A down day by Cutler did not help. This week may not be any better against a defense that still has not given up a tight end reception..

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Eagles defensive rankings suggest a very good secondary but that is more related to the Browns lack of a passing offense. This was one of the worst defenses in the NFL last year and is not magically climbing that high in just one week. Jay Cutler, Zach Miller and Kevin White are risky starts though they have slightly better outlooks this week. Jeremy Langford and Alshon Jeffery are the only must-starts and that will carry through every week. But more so when the Eagles are coming to town. Almost 75% of the yardage they allowed last week went between the two starting wide receivers.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 26 27 15 27 29 16
Preventing Fantasy Points PHI 5 22 2 1 9 7

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