NFL Expert Picks Against the Spread: Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears
There's little argument that former Eagles and current Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is one of the best coaches of his generation in the NFL. In 20 seasons, his regular-season record is a sterling 195-124-1 (.611). "Regular season" being the key term there. Reid has had some issues in the playoffs with an 11-13 record and he reached just one Super Bowl, losing it with the 2004 Eagles.
Reid is so widely respected, though, that many of his former assistants have become or are currently head coaches in the league. Two of them have won a Super Bowl: Baltimore's John Harbaugh and Philadelphia's Doug Pederson. Chicago's Matt Nagy looks to make it a third as he goes against his good friend Pederson for the first time in the final wild-card game of the opening weekend of the playoffs as the Eagles visit the Bears late Sunday afternoon.
Both Pederson and Nagy were offensive coordinators under Reid before landing their first head coaching jobs. Actually, Nagy has been a step behind Pederson for their entire careers until 2018. Nagy's first NFL job was under Reid in Philadelphia as an assistant to the quality control coach, who happened to be Pederson. When Pederson was promoted to quarterbacks coach, Nagy moved up to quality control coach. When Reid left for Kansas City and brought Pederson as his offensive coordinator, Nagy also went and became the QBs coach. And finally, when Pederson took the Eagles' job, Nagy took over as the Chiefs' OC.
Of course, thanks to some creative play-calling and major stones, Pederson - the last of the 2016 head coaching hires still employed -- brought Philadelphia its first Super Bowl title last year. Nagy, likely the NFL Coach of the Year, has the Bears in the playoffs for the first time since 2010, and it's a freaking disgrace that one of the NFL's flagship franchises still has just one Super Bowl title: the vaunted 1985 team. Incidentally, Nagy is also tight with the guy who will start at QB on Sunday for Philly in Nick Foles. It's going to be an interesting chess match with both coaches learning from the same teacher and employing many of the same principles.
Eagles at Bears Betting Story Lines
I'm sure the answer is no because there would be serious ramifications from the league, but I wonder if Nagy had his Bears pretty much go all-out last week in Minnesota to help Pederson's Eagles when in reality Nagy's team had nothing to play for. Maybe subconsciously?
Yes, Chicago still had a shot at the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye, but there was NO way the Rams - kicked off at same time - were losing at home to the 49ers even with Toddy Gurley sitting again. L.A. led that game 31-10 at halftime, so in theory Nagy should have pulled his starters at the half (he said he was aware of the score) against the Vikings. For the most part, he didn't. Chicago's 24-10 victory not only ended a six-game losing streak at the Vikings but knocked Minnesota out of the playoff hunt when coupled with the Eagles' no-doubt win at Washington.
I know many, many Bears fans who would have preferred that Nagy tank that game in order to then face the Vikings again this week and unproven big-game quarterback Kirk Cousins instead of the defending champs and the reigning Super Bowl MVP in Foles. Top Bears WR Allen Robinson didn't play at Minnesota due to a rib injury, while fellow WRs Anthony Miller (shoulder) and Taylor Gabriel (ribs) left injured. All three are in line to play after practicing in full Wednesday. That Miller practiced is fairly shocking as it looked like he re-dislocated his shoulder. Pro Bowl safety Eddie Jackson (ankle) has missed the past two games and hadn't practiced as of Wednesday.
The Eagles, whose playoff hopes were nearly gone at 6-7, rolled the Redskins 24-0, and really the only notable thing from that was Foles leaving with a rib injury in the fourth quarter. He's fine - or at least will be shot up and feel fine for three hours - and will play.
If Chicago wins, it goes to the Rams next week. If Philadelphia does, it visits New Orleans. The Bears are +500 third-favorites to win the NFC and Eagles +1750 long shots.
Eagles at Bears Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Chicago is a 5.5-point favorite (-110) with a total of 41. On the moneyline, the Bears are -245 and Eagles +205. Some alternate lines: Bears -2.5 (-190), -3.5 (-135), -6.5 (+105) and -7.5 (+145). Philadelphia was 7-9 against the spread (4-4 on road) and 7-9 "over/under" (5-3 on road). Chicago was an NFL-best 12-4 ATS (7-1 at home) and 8-8 O/U (4-4 at home).
The Eagles are 6-2 ATS in their past eight playoff road games. They have covered four straight in January overall. The Bears are 7-1 ATS in their past eight after a win. They are 5-2 ATS in their previous four against teams with a winning record. The under is 5-2-1 in Philly's previous eight in January. It's 4-0 in Chicago's past four overall. The underdog is 9-4 in the past 13 meetings.
Eagles at Bears Betting Prediction
Take nothing from the last meeting, a 31-3 Eagles home win in Week 12 last year. Philly was obviously excellent in 2017 and the Bears awful under former coach John Fox. Carson Wentz had three TD passes but is out now. Chicago had just 140 yards with Mitch Trubisky throwing two picks.
While I would worry about the inconsistent Trubisky if I were a Bears fan, I'm not sure how the Eagles score much on that stellar Bears defense because they aren't going to be able to run the ball a lick. I believe Bears win by a field goal so take the points. Go under the total.
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