Who says two years away from the game is too long to return to elite status, Michael Vick may very well be the best PLAYER in the league being two years removed. Michael Vick and Jay Cutler might be the two most talented QBs who have change addresses in their primes in a long, long time, for drastically different reasons. The (7-3) Philadelphia Eagles take their high-powered offense into the Windy City to clash with the black and blue division leading (7-3) Chicago Bears, kickoff slated for 4:15 PM EST. The winner will have a very good chance of securing home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs — which might very well mean getting home field in a January rematch of these two teams, as both have a strong chance of securing a postseason berth. We may just be seeing a playoff preview on Sunday. This is the fourth consecutive season these teams will square off and the third straight meeting at Soldier Field.
Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is having an MVP-type season, and the most impressive part of it is the way he’s avoiding the mistakes that plagued his career with the Atlanta Falcons. Vick has thrown 191 passes without an interception this season, which isn’t just his best start, but the best start to a season any Eagles quarterback has ever had. In addition to leading the league with a 108.7 passer rating and going 191 attempts without an interception – the longest streak to start a season in franchise history – Vick also leads all quarterbacks with 375 rushing yards. He has four running touchdowns in the last three games, and his scrambling ability creates big problems for defenses. After Vick, the best weapon in the Eagles’ offense may be running back LeSean McCoy, who’s coming off a 100-yard rushing game and leads all NFL running backs with 51 catches. The Eagles defense is good enough to limit Jay Cutler’s success, though Cutler is beginning to understand and trust Mike Martz’s system. We still haven’t seen the offense in full gear, and if it hasn’t come this late in the season, when will it? Also, the Eagles lead the league with 26 takeaways, which can’t be dismissed and is almost always the difference maker in games like this.
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Chicago hasn’t been facing the toughest of opponents with its last four wins coming over Miami, Minnesota, Buffalo and Carolina – teams with a combined 11-29 record. Although the Bears’ success can be somewhat hard to gauge, beating Vick and the Eagles would likely impress most skeptics. It would also help their playoff chances, as Bears have more conference losses – critical in the playoff tiebreaker formula – than any NFC team with a winning record. For the Bears, the player to watch is Devin Hester, who’s leading the NFC with 15 yards a punt return and two touchdowns. With one more touchdown on either a punt or kickoff return, he’ll become the first player in NFL history with 14 in his career. (He’s currently tied with Brian Mitchell for first all time.) Hester is also an important part of the Bears’ passing game, and whether or not he can get open for Jay Cutler will go a long way toward determining whether the Bears can move the ball offensively. The defensive line needs to step up their pressure and linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs need to keep their eyes on Vick as well as any receivers coming across the middle. It’s a daunting task, but one that needs to be done in order to give the Bears the best opportunity to pull the upset Sunday afternoon.
Eagles vs Bears Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Philadelphia Eagles -3.5
@ Chicago Bears +3.5
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Eagles vs Bears Prediction for Week 12:
Spread Prediction (TOP PLAY) – The Chicago Bear are a dangerous bunch. They still have the fearsome and “swarm” to the ball type of defense, but they also pose as a very lethal offensive team. Offensive coordinator has QB Jay Cutler playing at the top of his game and he his finding ways to get the ball in the hands of the most dangerous man in open field in Devon Hester. Even more enticing to this inclination is the way the windy city bunch plays in historic Soldier Field, Chicago is 14-6 SU in its last 20 games at home. The Philadelphia Eagles posses at the current moment, arguably, the most dominant, high-powered offense in the league. QB Michael Vick has resurfaced as one of the elite quarterbacks in the league and he now just not doing it with his legs, but also his arm. The Eagles do, however, come into this game with a host of injuries and with a game against the Bears all hands need to be on deck. The Eagles will most likely be without the services of CB Asante Samuel, DT Brodrick Bunkley, and LB Ernie Sims. With a big game at home against the Texans next Sunday I see this as a let down performance for the Eagles, and while they still may be victorious, I see the Bears keeping this one extremely close. Take a healthy look at the Bears keeping this one close.
Top Play Prediction = Bears +3.5
Game Total Prediction – For the Bears to hold the Eagles to 3.5 points means that the offense will need to keep pace with the Eagles. You can only hold down Michael Vick for so long, he has the potential to break one at any moment. The Eagles are going to score their points and I see the Bears being able to match. The total has gone OVER in 5 of Philadelphia’s last 6 games and more enticing is the total has gone OVER in 5 of Philadelphia’s last 6 games on the road. The Eagles have averaged 37.3 points in their last three games and if that’s not scary enough, the Eagles are averaging 424 yards of total offense in those games. The Bears have played UNDER football for four consecutive weeks not and they are bound to break lose. Mike Martz has this offense on the verge of dominance and this week will see the projected starters at the beginning of the year all play together for the first time this season. The Bears seem to always play the Eagles tough and I see much the same come this Sunday. We will consider both teams picking their spots this Sunday and this game should squeak past the posted total.
Prediction = OVER 42.5 Total Points