November 25, 2017
Whether they were trying to stave off a tryptophan-induced coma or slugging it out with other Black Friday shoppers this holiday weekend, there's one thing Eagles fans could put on the back burner until early Sunday afternoon: their team's Week 12 matchup against the Bears.
That's because the Eagles are favored by two touchdowns and it's pretty much impossible to find any impartial prognosticator predicting even the possibility of an upset. So there wasn't much of a reason to turn to your family members at the Thanksgiving table and ask, "Do you think the Birds win on Sunday?"
That's like asking if you're going to regret taking that fifth helping of turkey. You already know the answer.
While that's a fine approach for fans, it's not one you want to see the Eagles take on Sunday when they host a 3-7 Chicago team that has lost three straight and has just one win in regulation all season.
We expect they'll take care of business, and here are five numbers that could go a long way toward making that happen.
That's the current total being offered by Bovada, and if you look at our staff predictions, two out of three are taking the under. Normally, I go with majority rules, but since I'm the outlier taking the over – and by a wide margin – I have to stick to my guns.
This week, I think it has more to do with the Eagles offense than anything else. I don't see the Bears putting up a ton of points, but a pick-six or a strip-sack returned for a touchdown wouldn't shock me. And for our purposes, that's just as good as them scoring an offensive touchdown.
As for Carson Wentz and the Eagles offense, they'll have to avoid a slow start like the one they had against the Cowboys in Week 11 if they want to hit the over. They've posted at least 33 points in each of their last four games and the last time they played at the Linc (Week 9 vs. DEN) they scored 31 in the first half.
In the last one, I mentioned that explosive first-half performance against the Broncos, and while I don't see them scoring 31 points again, I definitely think they'll score a couple of touchdowns. A little first-quarter rust following their big win over the Cowboys wouldn't be shocking, but if Doug Pederson can stick to what worked in Dallas – allowing the run to set up the pass – then the Eagles should be fine on Sunday.
Speaking of sticking to the run, the Bears run defense isn't all that terrible. But with some injuries to the middle of their 3-4 defense, the Eagles should look to take advantage. Sure, they held the Lions to just 65 yards last week, but Detroit is one of the worst rushing offenses in the league – but that only came after a five-game stretch during which they allowed an average of 131 rush yards per game.
And against an Eagles ground attack that's second in the NFL with an average of 144.6 yards/game, look for the Bears defense to more closely resemble the one we saw prior to Chicago's game against the Lions.
The second-year QB leads the NFL with 25 touchdown passes through 10 games. Over the past six games, however, Wentz has averaged just over three touchdown passes per game and has thrown for at least that many in four of those six.
The Bears' pass defense, however, has held opposing quarterbacks to just 10 TD passes through 10 games this season. After allowing four passing touchdowns to Aaron Rodgers back in Week 4, they've allowed just four total over their last six games.
They're due then, right? Eh, I'm going to take the under here and say Wentz only gets two – I think they get two more on the ground, plus one from the defense. So it's not necessarily a bad thing if he doesn't hit the over here.
BONUS – Alshon Jeffery TD receptions: 0.5
I'm sure Alshon wants to score against his former team, but it's more about how well he and Wentz are clicking right now than anything else. He's got six touchdowns on the season and has scored in three straight games, including twice against the Broncos.
The Bears allow 2.5 sacks per game, while the Eagles defense averages just under three. Recently, however, the Eagles have been better than their average, recording at least three sacks in each of their last four games:
Even if starting guard Kyle Long (questionable) plays on Sunday, I'm taking the over. The Eagles should be able to build a comfortable lead, meaning Mitchell Trubisky is going to have to throw more, meaning extra opportunities for the Eagles defense. If that sounds familiar, it's because it's been the Birds' M.O. for most of the season.