The final match of the wildcard weekend in the NFL playoffs comes from Soldier Field as the Chicago Bears are the first postseason opponents for the defending champions Philadelphia Eagles, who are eyeing up a return to the Super Bowl.
The Bears dominated the NFC North throughout the campaign while the Eagles came home with a wet sail to sneak into the final postseason berth on the very final night of the regular season, and now they are targeting a second straight world title.
If the adage that defences win championships rings true then the Chicago Bears are entitled to think they have every chance of going all the way over the next few weeks. They have an elite pass rush and a decent enough secondary that suggests they are going to be hard to beat in these playoffs, but they will be up against some decent offenses so they will need to be strong.
If there is a question mark over the Bears it will undoubtedly come in whether Mitchell Trubisky is good enough to lead a side through the rigours and the pressures of the postseason. He has two excellent running backs to rely on but ultimately there will be a time where he has to make do or die plays and they are different at this time of year.
The defending champions could be forgiven for thinking that their name might be on the title again this year as there are so many omens from last term which are beginning to come into play this term. The main one of those is that their form has taken a massive upturn since Carson Wentz was benched and Nick Foles came into the side.
There is no doubt that key offensive players lift their game when Foles is under center and I expect the Eagles’ offense to deliver the goods here but whether they have enough defensive quality left after being ravaged by injuries throughout the campaign will probably be the thing that determines whether they are champion material again or just making up the numbers in this playoff campaign.
It may well be that the Chicago Bears make it through this match and justify their favouritism but although they have won their last four matches, they have not scored more than 24pts in any of them so the evidence suggests that they are unlikely to blow the Philadelphia Eagles away in this match, especially when we allow for the occasion.
The Eagles have come alive under Nick Foles. I can’t decide if I think the reigning champions will win this match but I do think they will put up a big challenge to Chicago especially with the likes of Alshon Jeffrey not lacking for motivation. A 6.5pt start is quite a big one for the Eagles to begin with here and I’m confident they can stay within that come the end of this one.
WON – Back Philadelphia Eagles (+6.5) to beat Chicago Bears for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with William Hill
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