Matt’s 2018 Individual Game Record: 13-9 (ATS & O/U)
Sunday, 4:40 p.m. ET (NBC)
Free NFL Pick: Bears ATS
Best Line Offered: YouWager
How rude would it be for the Philadelphia Eagles to go to Chicago and upset the Bears in Sunday’s NFC Wild-Card Game? After all, the Bears are the only reason that the Eagles have a chance to defend their Super Bowl title. Chicago had very little to play for in Week 17 at division rival Minnesota but thumped the Vikings, 24-10, as 4-point underdogs. That allowed the Eagles to claim the NFC’s final playoff spot with their easy 24-0 victory at the Redskins.
It’s the first postseason meeting between the Bears and Eagles since the Divisional Round following the 2001 season. The Eagles won that 33-19 at Soldier Field. Philly’s coach then? Andy Reid. The two head coaches in this game, the Bears’ Matt Nagy and Eagles’ Doug Pederson, both are from the Reid coaching tree. Pederson was the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator before he was hired by Philadelphia in January 2016, and Nagy was too when he was hired in January 2018.
These teams last met in the 2017 regular season, with the Eagles rolling to a 31-3 home victory in Week 12. Carson Wentz threw for three scores, to Zach Ertz, former Bear Alshon Jeffrey and Nelson Agholor. The Eagles also rushed for 176 yards. Chicago had just 140 total yards with Mitchell Trubisky picked off twice. That Bears team was stuck in the stone ages, though, offensively under former coach John Fox.
Foles Banged Up
The big question early this week is the status of Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, the reigning Super Bowl MVP who is 3-0 this season as the starter, including victories over the division-winning Texans and Rams. He injured his ribs two weeks ago and then aggravated the problem in Sunday’s victory over the Redskins. The team believes Foles’ ribs are simply bruised and that he’ll be OK. Obviously, if it’s Nate Sudfeld out there that would change the spread dramatically. Wentz is still on the active roster but not expected to return from his back problem.
Foles tied an NFL record against the Skins by completing 25 consecutive passes. He’s going to cash in big as a free agent this winter, although Foles lost out on a $1 million bonus Sunday when he left with the injury and didn’t return. He was due a $1 million incentive if the Eagles reached the postseason and he was in for 33 percent of the team’s plays. He finished at 32 percent.
The Bears finished with their best regular-season record since the 2006 team was 13-3 and reached the Super Bowl (losing to Colts). They’ve won nine of their last 10 games and that one defeat (at Giants) was in overtime.
Chicago could be short-handed at receiver for this one. Some might second-guess Nagy for playing nearly all his key guys in Week 17 when it was essentially a lock that the Bears were going to be the third seed. Good-looking rookie WR Anthony Miller left with what looked to be a dislocated shoulder, and Taylor Gabriel left with a rib injury. “I feel good about them,” Nagy said after the game.
No. 1 WR Allen Robinson missed Week 17 with an injury but that was more about maintenance and he’ll surely play vs. Philly. Pro Bowl safety Eddie Jackson missed his second straight with an ankle problem and it’s not clear if he’ll be ready. On the bright side, three-time Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long was activated off injured reserve and played for the first time since Oct. 28.
If the Eagles win this game, they would head to New Orleans. Chicago would go to the Rams.
- Bears are 7-0-1 ATS in their last 8 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Eagles are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Wild-Card games.
Philadelphia is one of the worst running teams in the league, while Chicago rush D ranks second. Thus, the Bears should be able to make the Eagles one-dimensional. Good news for Khalil Mack but bad for Foles. Bet Bears, who win by a TD in a low-scoring affair.