When the Eagles and Bears get together for a matchup you automatically think throwback football. Gritty, rough and rugged play that represents their respective cities to the fullest. When you add in the fact that the two head coaches, Matt Nagy and Doug Pederson, both come from the Andy Reid coaching tree and are close friends, you have the makings of a highly competitive contest.
The Eagles have caught fire late in the season, winning their last three games to sneak into the playoffs. The Bears have won nine out of their last ten, finishing number one in points allowed. Whoever wins this game might be really banged up for the next round.
Keys To The Game
The Bears should have a balanced attack on offense and not let Philadelphia key in on their rushing attack. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky can really give teams fits when he gets out of the pocket and scrambles for first downs. Getting Trubisky into space where he can create something tends to yield good results. Chicago will need to keep their turnovers to a minimum on offense. Keeping the offense balanced and controlling time of possession will keep the defense fresh and active.
Defensively the Bears will need to shutdown the Eagles run game. They will need to identify who the main target in the “run-pass option” will be, as they will see a ton of that during the game. If the Bears get a lead they need to keep a raucous aggression on defense. Too many times this season they have given up a big play and then lost momentum by letting up on defense late in games.
The Eagles need to establish their run game early, because as a team they rushed for over 100 yards in eight of their nine wins this season. The balance on offense will somewhat nullify the ferocious pass rush and keep Chicago looking more towards the line of scrimmage.
Defensively they should blitz heavy, not necessarily just quarterback blitz, but the run blitz that blows up plays in the backfield. They will need to keep an eye on the running backs and tight ends in the middle of the field. Those plays can turn into big plays with yards after the catch. Putting Chicago in long third down situations will force them to abandon the run and take more chances on offense. The more they do that, the more they are susceptible to turnovers.
Chicago wide receiver Taylor Gabriel should get plenty of opportunities in this matchup. He will be matched up with linebackers and nickel backs- players who can’t match his speed. If he can find some open holes in the defense, he will be a weapon nobody was expecting to be big.
The Eagles pair of linebackers, Nigel Braham and Jordan Hicks, will have to turn it up a notch in this one. They will have to do the dirty work, allowing their teammates up front to rush the passer and rack up sacks.
I’ll go with Chicago over Philadelphia 23-17, with the Bears defense making a big play late.