Eagles prepare for make-or-break finish

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles' secondary that had played pretty well for the past 2 1/2 months came apart at the seams in Sunday's 48-30 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, with Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel throwing for 382 yards and two touchdowns and completing 74 percent of his attempts.
Now, the Eagles must prepare for an even tougher aerial assault from the Chicago Bears, who boast one of the top receiving tandems in the league in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey. To make matters worse, the Eagles must do it with a depleted secondary.
Brandon Boykin, their nickel corner, suffered a head injury on a second-half kickoff return. His status for the Bears' game is uncertain. The same is true for backup safeties Kurt Coleman (knee) and Colt Anderson (knee), who also were injured in the Vikings game.
The Eagles have been without rookie starting safety Earl Wolff for the past four games while he has been recovering from a knee injury. Wolff practiced on a limited basis last week, and there is a chance he could return to face the Bears.
The Eagles have prided themselves on not giving up the big play this season, but they gave up a season-high four pass plays of 30-plus yards to the Vikings. Starting corners Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher both had poor games.
"(The Vikings) executed on all levels," Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. "They were throwing the ball all over the field on us. We always talk about not giving up the big plays - and big plays we gave up."
--Eagles coach Chip Kelly's name has been mentioned in rumors regarding the vacant University of Texas job. He said Monday that he is not interested in any job right now except the Eagles.
"I understand you have to ask the question," he said. "I'm not involved in any jobs. I haven't talked to anybody. It's just speculation. I haven't spoken to anybody, nor will I speak to anybody. I'm the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. I'm going to prepare for the Bears (on Sunday). We're going to prepare for the Cowboys after that. Hopefully, we have an opportunity to go to the playoffs and I plan to be here for a while."
--With an 8-6 record, the Eagles have a one-game lead over the 7-7 Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles will know Sunday before they take the field for their primetime game against the Chicago Bears the outcome of Sunday afternoon's game between the Cowboys and the Redskins.
If the Cowboys lose, the Eagles would clinch the NFC East. But Kelly said he would not consider resting any of his starters, even if the game against the Bears is meaningless.
"We've got to play," he said. "We're not in a situation where we've got to rest anybody. We've got to play and get back on the winning track. We've got to be ready to play winning football. I think our philosophy has been it's on the line every time you play. It's not really what goes on outside of there. It's we need to get better as a football team. Everybody needs to play."
--S Earl Wolff, who has missed the last four games with a knee injury, will test his knee in practice this week and might play against Chicago.
--CB Brandon Boykin, the team's nickel corner, suffered a head injury on a kickoff return Sunday. His status for this week is uncertain.
--S Colt Anderson injured his knee in the second half Sunday. It's not known how serious the injury is. Anderson is a backup, but also one of the team's top special teams players.
--S Kurt Coleman injured his hamstring Sunday and probably will not play this week against the Bears, which could leave the Eagles further short-handed in the secondary.

What to Read Next