Julius Peppers racked up a cornucopia of sacks against the Miami Dolphins last Thursday and was rewarded for his efforts. His three sack performance (8th three sack game of his career) earned him the NFC Defensive Player of the Week award for the fourth time in his career. It’s about time that he was recognized for his stellar play this season. The NFL also announced that Peppers is currently the leading voting getter in the NFC among defensive ends. A fitting ‘thank you’ from football fans around the country this time of year.
The Bears couldn’t be happier that Peppers is playing at the top of his game with a big matchup against Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday afternoon. Peppers has faced Vick nine times in his career, giving him headaches each game and sacking him five times. He will be a key factor when the Bears hunt down a victory at Soldier Field this Thanksgiving weekend.
Peppers gives the Bears defense a great chance to feast on Vick. Since Vick is a lefty, Peppers will have to do everything he can from the right side of the line to force him to his weak side. This will give Israel Idonije opportunities to get to Vick from the left. The Giants Justin Tuck was able to get to Vick three times last week as the defensive line brought a lot of pressure up front. Peppers will need to beat his guy one-on-one or more likely attract double teams, giving the other linemen a chance to gobble up Vick in the pocket.
While Vick has been lauded for his athletic ability, Peppers has kept him in hot water throughout their previous matchups. Even if Peppers cannot sack Vick, his presence alone could lead to bad passes and tipped balls, ending up in turnovers for the Bears defense, which has caused 25 on the season (2nd to the Eagles 26). Peppers is heating up and the Eagles know it. If he is on his game on Sunday, a Bears victory will be as easy as pumpkin pie.