Monday Night Football
EAGLES (1-0) vs BEARS (0-1)
Carson Wentz showed he could handle the big stage in his much-ballyhooed NFL start, but the lights will be even brighter when he leads the Philadelphia Eagles on the road to face the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football (Enter Contests). Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick overall pick out of North Dakota State, earned raved reviews nationally after leading Philadelphia to a 29-10 win over Cleveland in its season opener. His 101.0 passer rating was the highest by a Philadelphia rookie since John Reaves in 1972.
Wentz was supposed to open the season on the bench but was thrust into the starter’s role following the abrupt trade of Sam Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings. He responded with 278 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns against those lowly Browns. While Wentz looks to be the towns hero in Philadelphia after his starry debut, there are major injury concerns on both sides of the ball for the Eagles.
Tight end Zach Ertz, who collected six catches for 58 yards, suffered a rib displacement under his collarbone and did not practice again Friday. This is likely robbing Wentz of a safety valve that hauled in 75 receptions in 2015. Cornerback Leodis McKelvin also did not participate in practice. He strained his hamstring, putting further stress on a position where Philadelphia lacked depth after trading Eric Rowe to New England. Wide receiver Jordan Matthews had a big first game with the Eagles acquiring seven catches for 114 yards and a TD.
Chicago was not impressive in its season opener, failing to get on the board in the second half of a 23-14 loss at Houston. Playing at home is not necessarily an advantage for the Bears. They’ve came out victorious only once at Soldier Field last season. Chicago’s offensive line struggled to protect quarterback Jay Cutler, who was sacked five times and pressured repeatedly. Cutler passed for 216 yards with one touchdown and a costly interception in Houston.
Speedy wide receiver Kevin White, the No. 7 overall pick in 2015, had three receptions for 34 yards in his NFL debut, but accepted the blame for running the incorrect route on Cutler’s pick. After missing his entire rookie campaign with a shin injury, it’s likely that the jitters got to him for his first official NFL game. The Bears’ defense, which ranked in the bottom third of the league against the rush (120.9 yards per game) last season, gave the Texans control of the ball for more than 36 minutes. Alshon Jeffery was the best offensive player with four catches for 105 yards. He has at least 100 yards receiving and a touchdown in his last three games.