“Playoffs? You’re talking about…playoffs?”
Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?
I always like the Chicago Bears…
…and I’m no longer going to deny what I’m seeing with my eyes. This is a very, very good Bears team. And they have been absolutely dominant in their building.
Also, this is the last time the Bears will be favored this season, barring the Saints being upset in the divisional round. A win Sunday puts something of a exclamation point on the regular season success.
The Playoff Pastoral
The shepherd wears a visor,
and walks within the cool, charming breezes of the lake.
His flock are bears,
and with a tap of his crook on the wintry terrain,
and a rapturous “BOOM”,
he calls upon them to defend their hallowed home from feathered foes.
And in the placid peace of victory, the shepherd sleeps.
Why the Bears Win
- NFC’s worst secondary. Philly has sacked the quarterback 44 times this season but when they don’t get home they are the conference’s worst pass defense. This is not the kind of game Matt Nagy is going to attempt to grind out on the ground with Jordan Howard. This is a game to attack the back end of the Eagles defense, which includes former Bears like Cre’Von LeBlanc and Corey Graham.
- The Defense. The Bears are giving up 17.5 points per game at home but those numbers are skewed by (a) New England’s special teams scores and (b) a shit load of garbage time points throughout the season. Nick Foles has breathed life into the Eagles offense but they have not played a defense this talented, well-coached and explosive because there isn’t another defense this talented, well-coached and explosive.
- Soldier Field. Bears are 7-1 at home. But here’s the weird part of that run: they really weren’t even pushed in the seven victories. The Packers kept it close. The Seahawks put up some late points. But only the Patriots – who won the game on specials – even threatened to beat the Bears on the lakefront. The Bears do everything better at home.
Why They Don’t
- Trubisky inaccuracy/turnovers. Barring weather conditions, the Bears should be expected to throw more Sunday than they have in recent games. That means Trubisky has to be both (a) accurate and (b) careful with the football. Turnovers are almost always the difference in the postseason.
- Cody Parkey. The Bears have a severe liability at kicker. Parkey, for lack of a better word, is poop. And if this game comes down to a field goal late, every expectation should be the ball hitting an upright and tumbling limply into the end zone.
- Saint Nick. Maybe it’s just magic. Maybe Foles is just different. Maybe he’ll be throwing bombs all over the ballpark and breaking down a defense no one has really broken down all season long. The Bears have manhandled the last four quarterbacks they faced. But maybe, just maybe, Foles will be the one they can’t.[Side note on Nick Foles’ 2017 playoff run: he did it all at home.]
Tweet of the Week
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) December 31, 2018
Song of the Week
Game Prediction: Jeff
I don’t see why things would change this week. The Bears are the best defense in the sport and they have one of the game’s most dominant home field advantages. Nick Foles has been a nice story. The story ends Sunday. Oh, and a bold prediction: Roquan Smith scores a touchdown.
Chicago Bears 30
Philadelphia Eagles 10
Game Prediction: Andrew
Nagy is going to have the offense firing early against a depleted Philadelphia secondary. The Bears are going to be able to create mismatches all over the field and Trubisky’s playoff debut is going to be memorable. The defense, meanwhile, might struggle with Alshon Jeffery, but they’re going to get to Nick Foles enough to force a few mistakes that make the difference.
Chicago Bears 31
Philadelphia Eagles 17
Game Prediction: Data
Bears haven’t lost with Trubisky playing since October. No reason to think that changes now. Defense does its thing and offense does enough to win comfortably.
Chicago Bears 24
Philadelphia Eagles 13
Game Prediction: Emily
The Bears have won 9 of their last 10, and played better than I ever could have hoped this year. There’s no way I’m doubting them now. I think the Eagles will be stiff competition, and I also wouldn’t be surprised if Trubisky comes out a little jumpy. I think the defense hounds a less than healthy Nick Foles, and Mitch finds his footing as the game goes on.
Chicago Bears 26
Philadelphia Eagles 17
(I’m betting on a defensive score and a Cody Parkey missed extra point….)