Eagles vs Bears: Live Stream Online Khalil Mack on Bears’ playoff tilt vs. Eagles: ‘You live for these type of games’ Khalil Mack has only been to the playoffs once, losing to the Houston Texans two years ago while with the Oakland Raiders. That 27-14 loss came after quarterback Derek Carr suffered a season-ending injury a few weeks prior; Mack had 11 tackles but no sacks as Brock Osweiler led the Texans to a win in Houston.
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Mack said he learned a lot from that playoff game, but isn’t trying to connect the dots between a loss with the Raiders and the Bears’ upcoming wild card round tilt against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at Soldier Field (3:40 p.m., NBC).
“Different situation, different team,” Mack said. “Just looking forward to going out and getting this win and keeping our playoff hopes alive.”
Mack has played some of his best football for the Bears in the spotlight. Three of his four highest graded games by Pro Football Focus came on Sunday Night Football (at Green Bay, vs. Minnesota, vs. Los Angeles), with his disruptive play critical in those season-defining wins over the Vikings and Rams. The playoff spotlight will be greater, but it’s opportunities like the one the Bears have on Sunday that Mack relishes.
“That’s what you live for,” Mack said. “You live for these types of moments. You live for these types of games.”
Mack finished his first year in Chicago with 12 1/2 sacks and six forced fumbles, impressive production that came in the face of two diminishing factors: First, that he didn’t participate in a single practice until Labor Day; and second, that his entire month of October was wiped out due to ineffective and rest following an ankle injury in Week 6.
The Eagles know what Mack can do, and certainly will have a plan in place to try to slow him behind tackles Lane Johnson and Jason Peters. Mack relishes the challenge of competing against two of the league’s better tackles on a national stage, though, and knows he’ll be remembered for what he does in playoffs more than what he did in the regular season.
“It’s going to be a great challenge for us, and we’re looking forward to it,” Mack said. “This is a dream, to be in these situations.
“… It’s all a part of your legacy. That’s exactly what you want to be remembered for, being a champion.”
This may be a trite, over-used classic piece of football analysis, but it’s especially true for Bears-Eagles: This game will be decided in the trenches. Both teams possess solid offensive lines and game-wrecking pass-rushing players all over the field.
So the question becomes: How effectively do the Bears shut down defensive tackles Fletcher Cox (10 1/2 sacks, 95 pressures) and Michael Bennett (nine sacks, 68 pressures)? “Wide nine” edge rushers Chris Long and Brandon Graham combined for 10 1/2 sacks this year, too. Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz usually sticks to rushing his four defensive linemen while not sending many blitzes, so the onus will be on the Bears’ offensive line to handle a simple-yet-effective pass rushing scheme.
The good news is the Bears, collectively, have been excellent in pass protection this year. That starts with an offensive line that finished second in Pro Football Focus’ pass blocking efficiency metric and should be boosted by getting right guard Kyle Long back for a full game. This group held Rams superstar defensive tackle Aaron Donald to just one quarterback hit last month, which should give them confidence they can mute the impact of Cox and Bennett. And coupled with Mitch Trubisky’s knack for feeling and avoiding pressure and some quality pass protection contributions by Jordan Howard, the Bears will feel good about their ability to make sure the Eagles’ defensive line won’t wreck Sunday’s game.