November 01, 2019
After a big bounce-back win over the Bills in Buffalo last week, the Eagles would be wise not to let their guard down on Sunday when they return home to host the Bears at Lincoln Financial Field.
With the bye on the horizon, followed by back-to-back games against the Patriots and Seahawks, complacency is the Eagles' worst enemy. And even though the Bears' season looks like it could be on the brink of collapse, it's actually the Eagles who have the most to gain or lose depending on the outcome of this one.
As Jimmy Kempski pointed out in his weekly Eagles mailbag, the Eagles are facing the NFC's greatest playoff probability leverage this weekend, meaning there's a 23% difference between their playoff chances with a win or a loss. Sure, a loss wouldn't end the season for the Birds, but this is one of the games they need to win. At this point, the margin of error is tiny, and there's no more room for "bad losses" in games they are expected to win.
We've already broken down all those injuries, given you some matchups to watch and offered our own predictions for Eagles vs. Bears. Now, as we do every week, it's time to take a look around the nation to see how various experts, both local and national, see Sunday's game playing out...
• PhillyVoice staff: Our writers are unanimous this week in taking the home team. Here's a look at what Eagles beat writer Jimmy Kempski had to say after predicting a 29-13 win for the Birds:
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. ...
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.
• ESPN staff: Nine of their 10 experts are picking the Eagles over the Bears. The only one who didn't was Louis Riddick, and he didn't make a pick at all.
• Tim McManus, ESPN.com: Eagles 26, Bears 17
• Jeff Dickerson, ESPN.com: Eagles 17, Bears 15
• Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com: Eagles 31, Bears 14
Did Philadelphia find an identity during the second half in windy Buffalo last week? Running behind the hosses on the right side of their offensive line, Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks, the Eagles flexed their muscles like it was 2017, finishing with 218 rushing yards, their highest total output of the Doug Pederson era. That could be key against a Bears front that isn't as dominant as it once was. It helps that the return of Eagles cornerbacks Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby has stabilized the secondary. Avonte Maddox could also be back this week, while DeSean Jackson is set to stretch the field against a Chicago defense getting tired of carrying its organization. Blame coach Matt Nagy all you want, but Mitchell Trubisky has seen more open receivers this season than Carson Wentz. Trubisky just doesn't know what to do with them.
The Bears have been lifeless on offense, which is never a good thing. Philadelphia's defense hasn't been great, so something has to give here. I think the Eagles defense will get the best of it. The Eagles get a second straight victory.
• OddsShark: Last week, they wrongly picked the Eagles to lose by two touchdowns. This week, they're again picking a two-score game, but they see the Birds coming out on top.
• Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk: Eagles 27, Bears 20
It won’t take a double doink this time around.
• Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk: Eagles 24, Bears 23
If the rematch of last year’s playoff game comes down to a last-second field goal, the entire city of Chicago may have a collective heart attack. I see the Bears losing this and falling deeper into last place in the NFC North.
• Bleacher Report, NFL staff: Eagles 23, Bears 20
Last week, the Philadelphia Eagles were fighting for their lives in a season-saving road victory. Will the Chicago Bears have the same mentality in Philadelphia this week? The majority of our gang figures a still-banged-up Eagles team could be running into the wrong opponent at the wrong time. ...
Then again, it's entirely possible the Bears' season has already been derailed.
It looks as though they've completely lost confidence in quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, they have plenty of injuries of their own, and the defense hasn't been the same without veteran interior presence Akiem Hicks. Davenport can't bring himself to back a team under those circumstances, which is why we lack a unanimous consensus here.
And for what it's worth, those picking against the majority as lone wolves are 99-95 since the start of last season.
• Sheil Kapadia, The Athletic: Sheil Kapadia, the former Eagles beat writer turned national NFL writer, is now making picks against the spread for every game over at The Athletic. This week, he's taking the Eagles to cover five points against the Bears.
Sportradar defines “big plays” as runs of 10-plus yards and passes of 20-plus yards. Through eight weeks, the Bears are averaging just 3.6 big plays per games. That ranks 30th — ahead of only the Dolphins and the Jets. I’m not convinced that the Eagles really figured anything out in their win over the Bills last week, but as detailed earlier this week, Matt Nagy is terrified of his own team. And the Eagles have generally played better defensively at home. They go into their bye with a winning record.
• SBNation staff: Eight of their 10 experts are picking the Eagles in this one.
• Bleeding Green Nation staff: No surprises here as all nine of their writers are picking the Eagles.
• Inquirer.com: All four of their football writers are picking the Eagles, including Paul Domowitch, who sees the home team coming away with a 20-17 win on Sunday.
Ten months ago, the Eagles needed a double-doink to beat the Bears in the playoffs. The double-doinker in question, Cody Parkey, was released. But his replacement, Eddy Piñeiro, missed 33- and 41-yard field-goal attempts last week in a one-point loss to the Chargers, and Eagles kicker Jake Elliott has made all nine of his attempts. So if it comes down to a field goal Sunday, which is very possible, I like the Eagles’ chances.
Even if it doesn’t, I like their chances. They more or less survived three weeks on the road and are back in the warm-and-fuzzy confines of the Linc. Well, warm and fuzzy until they fail to convert a couple of third downs or fall behind by 10-0.
The Eagles are getting healthy. ... Zach Ertz is overdue for a big game. The pass rush is getting better. This isn’t going to be a blowout, but I think the Eagles will head into the bye with their second straight win.
• NJ.com staff: All six of their writers are picking the Eagles to win, including Birds beat writer Zack Rosenblatt.
Both of these teams are two of the bigger disappointments in the NFL, though the regression of Chicago’s offense in the second year of Matt Nagy is especially alarming. Any flashes of promise Mitchell Trubisky showed last year have evaporated. Chicago will be in just about every game because of Khalil Mack and a still-stellar defense, while the Eagles’ defense still has holes and the offense is far from a sure thing. If DeSean Jackson does actually play, that could make a huge difference. Either way, the Eagles should be able to handle Trubisky, force him into some errors and make long-awaited return to The Linc well worth it.
PICK: Eagles 20, Bears 17
• Todd Haislop, Sporting News: Eagles 24, Bears 21
Neither of these teams, which met in the wild-card round of the playoffs last season, is where it wanted to be at this point in 2019 for different reasons. The Eagles are in the bottom half of the league in scoring defense, and the Bears rank 27th in scoring offense. Both teams are strong against the run, but Philadelphia has the better rushing attack, complete with former Bear Jordan Howard. The home team also has the better quarterback by a landslide.
• Vinny Iyer, Sporting News: Eagles 27, Bears 20
The Eagles got well with a heavy dose of improved defense and the running game in Buffalo. The Bears' defense is showing a lot more holes than last season, including against the run and in the middle of the field in coverage. Look for former Bear Jordan Howard to exact revenge by powering through for another solid day with other key backs hurting while the Bears also will be lost against tight ends Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz. The Eagles' secondary is still bad, but Mitchell Trubisky is worse and will succumb to the pass rush in one-dimensional mode.
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