The Week 9 edition of Monday Night Football features two desperate teams needing wins to bolster their playoff chances. Mike Vick and the resurgent Eagles will host the streaking Chicago Bears and the electric Matt Forte.
After a dismal start for the pre-season Super Bowl favourite Eagles, it looks like they’re starting to figure things out on both sides of the ball. Last week, they manhandled a solid Cowboys squad, and will look to duplicating that performance against a hot squad from Chicago. Philadelphia’s improvement has been led by star running back LeSean McCoy who has recorded a touchdown in every game this season, and their much-maligned offensive line is starting to learn how to protect the oft-injured Mike Vick.
Chicago too has also experienced a turnaround of sorts, led mostly by its increasingly tough defense. The Bears will be entering this game with plenty of rest fresh off a bye week and will look to stretch its record to a competitive 5-3 in the stellar NFC North division.
Bears vs. Eagles Spread, Line, and Betting Odds:
Chicago Bears +8 (-110)
@ Philadelphia Eagles -8 (-110)
Over 47 (-110)
Under 47 (-110)
Betting odds taken from BetOnline.com <– Get $900 FREE with Credit Card Deposit (Amex, Visa, MasterCard)
Bears vs. Eagles Pick:
Though the Chicago defense has picked it up of late, they still can be exposed through the air, as they currently sit 28th in the league in defending the pass. That is a dangerous statistic when it comes to facing an Eagles offense that is atop the lead in overall offense, and sits ninth in their aerial attack. The Philadelphia offensive line has started giving Vick more time in the pocket, and as a result has picked apart defenses over the past two weeks. Against an attack boasting the likes of DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, the sure-handed Jason Avant, and the emerging Brent Celek, the Eagles are loaded with receiving options and if Chicago’s pass defense isn’t up to the task than it could be a long, chilly evening for the Bears in Philly.
That said, the Bears are currently firing on all cylinders on offense. Matt Forte has been dynamic this season, showing Chicago management he is going to cash in big this off-season with a new contract. Forte should continue to bolster his impressive stat-line against an Eagles defense that has been comical in attempting to stop the run. They’re currently giving up 5 yards per carry, and the Bears would be silly not to try and exploit this. Forte, like Vick, is incredibly versatile in the sense that he can burn the opposition in many different ways. If the Eagles attempt to stack the box and control him on the ground, Jay Cutler can hook up with Forte through the air. He is a game-breaker for Chicago, and you can bet that the Bears will do everything in their power to give him the time and space to take over this game.
On defense, the Bears have two beasts who will look to get to Vick early and often in Brian Urlacher and Julius Peppers. The two are adept pass rushers and if they can get a clean shot, could potentially knock him out of the game. We’ve all seen the fragility of Mike Vick, and if he can be roughed up it could put the Eagles’ dream season on the brink.
Expect Chicago to get after Vick as much as possible in this game. In last year’s tussle between these squads, Vick was sacked four times by the Bears defense, and that number should perhaps increase this time around. Philadelphia will be forced to endure a steady dose of the wildly impressive Forte, and will not have an answer for the former LSU stud. Chicago is 3-1 when rushing for 120 yards this season, and should be able to meet that number against Philly’s run defense. Forte will help the Bears control the clock and tempo, and keep the dangerous Eagles game-breakers waiting in the cold along the sidelines.
Historically, Chicago has owned this match-up against the spread, boasting a 5-1 record over the last six meetings with the Eagles. Additionally, Philly has struggled in stringing together back-to-back impressive performances under coach Andy Reid, as they are 0-5 ATS at home coming off a week in which they held their opponent to 7 or fewer points. Consider the Bears to keep this one very close, in what should be an entertaining Monday Night clash.