November 01, 2019
The last time the Eagles faced the Bears, it was in a playoff game in Chicago and not a regular season matchup at the Linc. Nick Foles was playing quarterback for the Birds. Jordan Howard was carrying the ball for the Bears. And Malik Jackson was holding down the middle of the defensive line for Chicago.
And then, of course, there was the infamous Cody Parkey "Double Doink." He won't be out on the field at all on Sunday. Nor will Treyvon Hestor, the defensive tackle who never got the credit he deserved for his finger-tip deflection of Parkey's potential game-winning kick.
In other words, quite a bit has changed since the last time these two teams met. Like the fact that the Bears, who won the NFC North a season ago now find themselves at 3-4 and in last place in their division. The Eagles, meanwhile, could climb back into first place in the NFC East with a win and a Cowboys loss on Monday night, although that's looking unlikely with Dallas coming off the bye and facing the 2-6 Giants.
The Bears entered the week with just one player on the injury report, while the Eagles' report remains loaded with several big name players. Fortunately for Philly, they should get some of those players back this week, as DeSean Jackson, Darren Sproles, Tim Jernigan and Avonte Maddox all returned to practice this week. Guys like Nigel Bradham and Jason Peters remain sidelined, but according to Doug Pederson they're working their way back.
Will the potential return of Jackson be enough to jumpstart the offense? Will the Bears get their revenge after losing a home playoff game to the Birds a year earlier? And how will the addition of Carson Wentz, sidelined during the playoffs, back into the mix change the equation?
Here's everything you need to know for this weekend, including how our writers see the game playing out.
TV: FOX | RADIO: 94.1 WIP
SPREAD: Eagles (-4.5) | TOTAL: 41.5 (via Bovada)
The Bears were 12-4 in 2018, and they have already matched their loss total after just seven games in 2019. They come into Philly on a three-game losing skid, desperate for a win. Does that make them dangerous? Meh. Personally, I just don't think this team is good.
Offensively, their only good player is Allen Robinson, and the guy throwing to him has been one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL so far this season. The offensive line is bad, and the remaining skill position players have been invisible.
Defensively, while certainly still very stout and armed with arguably the best pass rusher in the game in Khalil Mack, the Bears are not collecting takeaways the same way they did a season ago.
The improving Eagles defense should be able to handle this crappy Bears offense, and I trust Carson Wentz to make good decisions against this great-but-not-quite-elite Bears defense. Oh, and I'll take Doug Pederson all day over Matt Nagy. It should be ugly at times, but I see the Eagles ultimately winning comfortably, like they did this past Sunday in Buffalo.
This is a picture perfect opponent for the Eagles before they reach their bye. While Allen Robinson certainly is the kind of wide receiver the secondary gets burned by, Mitch Trubisky and the rest of the offense is really not very intimidating. The Bears defense is certainly formidable, but the momentum of the run game has me confident the Birds will be able to move the ball proficiently. I expect a 5-4 record and some momentum as the team gets healthier and healthier.
Does this feel like a game the Eagles could inexplicably wind up losing? You bet. Do I think that will happen on Sunday? For the love of god, I hope not. A loss to the Bears on Sunday would send this city into a tailspin for two weeks as the Eagles have the bye week on deck followed by their toughest test of the season in the undefeated Patriots.
The Eagles should be getting some key players back at crucial positions, including DeSean Jackson, Tim Jernigan and Avonte Maddox. And in the case of Maddox, his return marks the first time the Eagles secondary has been fully healthy* since Week 3 ... of last season. That's right, it's been 13 months (or 23 games) since this team has had it's full complement of cornerbacks and safeties. [h/t to Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philly for that stat.]
Whether or not you think that grouping is good enough to hang with the top NFL passing attacks, they should certainly be up to the task of defending Mitch Trubisky and the Bears. And the Eagles offense should be getting just the boost it needs if DeSean also returns to the field on Sunday.
The Eagles are the better team on paper and they should show that on the field this Sunday.
Do I lean into the reverse jinx from last week or tempt fate and pick the Eagles? I’m going to lean the latter — they finally are back at home, the offense has some momentum going, and they’re finally starting to get guys back from injury, rather than losing them.
So I will tempt fate here. Feel free to put all the blame on me if they lose.
The Eagles have shown a proclivity to look great against mediocre quarterbacks. Mediocre may actually be too complimentary to the Bears’ Mitch Trubisky, who’s playing for his starting job. There’s no reason why the Eagles should lose this game. The one major problem the Eagles may face: The Bears are a desperate team playing for their season. They’re 3-4, yet have outscored their opponents, 128-122. The Eagles are 4-4 and have outscored their opponents 202-199.
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