After a dismal start to the season for last year’s Super Bowl champs, the Philadelphia Eagles – quarterback Nick Foles came again to the rescue and somehow willed this team into the post-season. In the wild-card weekend, they will head to the Windy City of Chicago to do battle with an impressive and rapidly improving Chicago Bears side.
The Eagles took care of business last week in a must-win situation, and that outing combined with a Vikings loss has them where they currently stand. Their offense has improved, but they still have a lot of flaws that haven’t been patched up all season long. On paper, Chicago has the holes to exploit them – but this is a classic match-up of playoff experience from Philly taking on the new success of the Bears.
This game promises to be fascinating, given the late-season push of the Eagles and the fact they remain last year’s champions. Can the Bears knock them out early, or will Philly finally get their act in gear now that all of these games mean so much. Read on below for full coverage of the Eagles and Bears, betting analysis, and an official prediction.
Eagles vs. Bears Betting Odds:
Philadelphia Eagles +6.5 (-115)
@ Chicago Bears -6.5 (-105)
Over 41.5 (-110)
Under 41.5 (-110)
Eagles vs. Bears Pick:
This is the biggest spread of the entire wild-card weekend, and given the way the Eagles played for most of the regular season – it’s understandable.
Philly needed a ton of luck and good fortune just to get here, and were soundly rescued once again by backup quarterback Nick Foles. For the second consecutive year, the much-maligned play caller has again been superb. He’s been the catalyst for the Eagles’ recent offensive success, and though he is taking on one of the league’s most ferocious stop units in Chicago, Foles does get great protection from his offensive line.
The one aspect Foles will likely look to exploit and should be able to, is going to Zach Ertz with regularity. The talented tight end has been superb all season, and has a big mismatch in this contest. Chicago unfortunately lost Bryce Callahan at slot corner recently, and as a result the Bears have been porous against opposing tight ends for some time now. Look for Foles to use Ertz in the middle of the field, and then set up downfield opportunities to Alshon Jeffery.
For the Bears, a lot of pressure will be on the favored Mitchell Trubisky. The quarterback will be in his first ever playoff game, and you better believe the Eagles will be sending all kinds of pressure to try and rattle the youngster. Philadelphia’s Fletcher Cox had an unbelievable season and should be able to get into the backfield and force Trubisky into a few hurried situations.
Trubisky is wildly inconsistent however, and even when he does evade the pressure, you just don’t know what he’s going to throw downfield. It is true that Philly does have a porous and depleted secondary, but Trubisky likely won’t be clinical enough to exploit this on Sunday.
To relieve pressure, the Bears might turn to a steady dose of their running game – but Philly has really improved in this area of late. Ever since the Eagles got Jordan Hicks back from injury, the Eagles have been solid at stifling run games – so don’t expect big outings from either Tarik Cohen or Jordan Howard.
Nobody is really giving the Eagles much of a shot in this one, and I can’t understand why. Nick Foles has this team clicking offensively, and the Bears’ offense has some evident flaws that will likely prevent it from gashing the Philly defense. Look for the pressure of the playoffs to get to Trubisky, and the Eagles’ offense to surprise once again. While the outright upset is possible, at 6.5 points – I lean for the defending champs.
PICK = Eagles +6.5 (-115)