December 15, 2022
The Eagles head into Chicago with a playoff spot clinched but plenty of work still to do.
"We got way bigger goals," head coach Nick Sirianni said after last week's win over the Giants. "It's on to the next one."
And the next one can bring them that much closer to securing the NFC's No. 1 seed while potentially putting further distance between the Vikings and Cowboys for it depending on how their games play out – Minnesota faces the Colt on Saturday and Dallas has the Jaguars on Sunday.
At the very least, a win over the rebuilding Bears cuts way down on the competition's margin for error in the playoff picture.
Here's how our writers think this week's going to go...
TV: FOX (Joe Davis, Daryl Johnston, Pam Oliver)
RADIO: 94.1 WIP (Merrill Reese, Mike Quick)
|Book||Spread||Money Line||Total (O/U)|
|DraftKings||PHI -9|| PHI -425|
|FanDuel||PHI -8.5||PHI -405|
|BetMGM||PHI -9||PHI -455|
|UniBet||PHI -9||PHI -315|
|PointsBet||PHI -8.5|| PHI -400|
A week ago the Eagles faced a team in the Giants that had a running quarterback, a back who runs with some power, non-threatening wide receivers, a bad offensive line, and pretty much nothing going for them on defense.
This week they'll face a Bears team that has a very similar roster construction. They too have a running quarterback, a back who runs with power, non-threatening receivers, a bad offensive line, and pretty much nothing going for them on defense.
The difference is that the Bears have a more dynamic quarterback, but everything else is worse.
When you look at the Eagles' roster, it's hard to find holes. When you look at the Bears roster, it's hard to find where there aren't holes. Eagles, big.
The Eagles will double up the lowly Bears, and we'll all be able to go back to last-minute Amazon Christmas shopping by halftime.
I'm not a "trap game" guy. The Eagles organization is aware that a win against the lowly Bears on Sunday coupled with a victory against Dallas on Christmas Eve locks up the No. 1 seed in the conference. There will be no letdown here.
Chicago is 27th in rushing yards allowed. That's a glaring issue when facing the league's most dynamic rushing attack in the Eagles. Miles Sanders has set a career-high in rushing yards three different times this season. It's in the cards for him to eclipse his 144-yard mark from this past Sunday at the Meadowlands this week at Soldier Field.
In my pre-journalism days, one of my favorite Eagles games was their 54-11 smackdown against Chicago in Week 16 of the 2013 season. The Birds rushed for 289 yards that night. A similar result would not surprise me in the slightest.
The only danger in Eagles-Bears is Philadelphia looking past their opponent with an eye toward the Cowboys on Christmas Eve.
They are the superior team on just about every front, and Chicago made a point to offload a lot of veterans for draft capital when it became clear how this season was going. It's a game that should feature a lot of Gardner Minshew in the second half if they play their cards right, with Hurts and the starters earning some well-earned relaxation on the bench.
Can't really say the Bears scare me. Neither of the four remaining games really do (yes, even the Dallas one).
Chicago has allowed an average of 146.3 rushing yards per game this season (27th in the NFL), while the Eagles have rushed for a No. 2 ranked 162.2 yards per game. So I think you can take a guess at what's coming here.
Justin Fields and the Bears have put together the league's best run game, but the Eagles' defense has really cleaned up its act against it over the past several weeks to the point where I can't imagine Fields or David Montgomery being too much of a problem.
I think the Eagles roll through this one and then get their starters out as soon as possible because while the Bears themselves don't scare me, Soldier Field's conditions absolutely do. Don't take any chances with it.
Each week the Eagles prove they are the best team in the NFL, incapable of a letdown performance that costs them the game. Outside of one game against Washington, Philadelphia has either escaped with a victory or outright dominated opponents. They seem to be cruising right now, focused from the top down. There’s still the goal of wrapping up home-field advantage in the playoffs, something that could come as early as this week.
Sure, they have the Cowboys next weekend and could overlook the Bears. But what exactly is there to overlook? This is one of the worst rushing defenses in the NFL and their QB is horrible. I’ve watched Chicago too much this year, betting both on and against them – including last week. Justin Fields may have a future in the NFL but he doesn’t see the field like Jalen Hurts nor does he command respect from all levels of the defense – like Hurts.
It’s still the NFL and it's hard to win games on the road, so don’t be shocked if this is closer than it seems. The only way that happens is if either the Eagles' defense gives up a bunch of random points to a rushing QB or Hurts and the offense are riddled with mistakes. More likely the Eagles win in a weird, higher-scoring game.
If anyone is getting disrespected this week it's the Chicago Bears, not Jalen Hurts. The one-time Monsters of the Midway are of the fledgling variety these days, almost Disney's "Monsters University" coming to life because nothing in the Windy City is quite ready to live up to the reputation of the franchise.
Second-year quarterback Justin Fields is gifted but has been disserviced this season with a defensive-minded rookie head coach in Matt Eberflus hiring an offensive coordinator in Luke Getsy whose claim to fame is getting out of Aaron Rodgers' way. Meanwhile, the GM who hatched this plan, Ryan Poles, is also a rookie who decided to strip down and rebuild the roster so the talent level around Fields is among the worst in the NFL.
The offense is almost Randall Cunningham-esque during the Buddy Ryan days when it was "just go make a play." Chicago is No. 1 in rushing offense because of Fields' athletic ability and No. 32 in passing offense as he struggles to fight through a less-than-optimal situation. Defensively, the swarming Vic Fangio defense that spawned a million copycats hit the exits when Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks did and the current Bears' stop unit is so bad that Robert Quinn was the guy seeing all the double teams. When traded to the Eagles, Quinn was probably the ninth-best lineman on the team before he went to injured reserve.
This is the NFC's worst team, both by record and on paper, and the latest trap game for a 12-1 Eagles team trying to keep Dallas at bay down the stretch for the NFC East title and the No. 1 seed in the conference.
As focused as Philadelphia has been, Nick Sirianni's team wouldn't be human if it wasn't looking ahead to the Cowboys and Micah Parson's oddly complimentary "disrespect" this week on Christmas Eve. My guess is that the Eagles do take the Bears lightly and maybe the weather – projected to be cold and windy – creates an issue or two as well but the talent disparity is so great that the Eagles still win rather easily.
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