Bears Choose Eagles in First Round
The 2019 NFL Playoff season is upon us and the Wild Card round returns to Soldier Field. The current NFC North Champion Chicago Bears (12-4) host the defending Super Bowl Champion Eagles (9-7). The Matt Nagy-led Bears achieved the impossible going from worst to first in his inaugural season. This is the organization’s best squad since 2010 and they play with tenacity. Philadelphia is their first hurdle in the road to Atlanta. Chicago is the biggest favorite of the first round at six points.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) January 2, 2019
The Bears roam into Sunday’s contest on a four-game winning streak while having won nine of their last 10. The last time this team finished this well was 1985. Chicago has averaged 25.4 points/game (PPG) against only 14.6 PPG during this stretch. This includes two games without starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Trubisky has made tremendous strides during his first season under Nagy, improving in every statistical category. He has shown signs of encapsulating a franchise fixture in just under two full seasons with Chicago.
“That’s what’s so nice about him being a young kid that has been able to take a step back and say, ‘What could I have done better?’” Nagy recently told chicagobears.com.
It has been the play of the defensive unit that defines this resurgence. They lead the NFL in nearly every important statistical category except yards allowed; points allowed (17.7), interceptions (27), INT touchdowns (5), passes defensed (98), and defensive touchdowns (6). The defense includes four Pro Bowl players in Akiem Hicks, Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson, and Kyle Fuller. Rookie sensation Roquan Smith led his unit in tackles. There isn’t a weakness on this side of the ball. They play with passion, discipline, and most of all, confidence.
“We know we are a great defense and we know we are a great team,” Danny Trevathan told chicagobears.com. “Let’s go ahead and put together a good four quarters, execute our assignments and let’s go ahead and put a stamp on this thing.”
Nothing would legitimize this magical season more than the Windy City home team knocking out the representatives from the City of Brotherly Love. 2018/19 was not an impressive encore for Philadelphia. They were hungover early in the season before they started stringing together wins. They lost Carson Wentz again and their secondary QB is hobbled. Yes, Nick Foles is back at the helm. Yes, he is a Super Bowl MVP. Yes, he steps up in big games but this is not 2017/18. The only reason the Eagles made the playoffs is because of the generosity of their Chicago hosts. If the Bears take Week 17 off, the Eagles are watching Wild Card weekend on their couches.
This matchup is about more than football, these are two proud cities that identify with their sports teams. This is bigger than the return of outspoken former Bear Alshon Jeffery or the potential matchup of the Long brothers (Kyle and Chris). This is about deep dish pizza over cheesesteaks. Kanye West over Boys II Men. This is about which city brings it Any Given Sunday.
My prediction is Chicago’s defense overwhelms Philly’s offensive line and smothers the run game. Foles will be forced to pass early and often until this lethal pass rush makes him hear footsteps inside the pocket. Nagy and Vic Fangio will dial up their best schemes of the season to show all the doubters the Bears are for real. Bears win 24-13.
💥 BOOM! 💥 pic.twitter.com/8WHg57EZo4
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) January 1, 2019
Until then, stay thirsty and BEAR DOWN! JT out.