As we previously laid out, the Philadelphia Eagles are huge fans of the Chicago Bears this week. The only way the Eagles can make the 2019 NFL playoffs is if Philly beats Washington in Week 17 ... AND ... the Vikings lose to the Bears in Minnesota.
The Bears already defeated the Vikings earlier this season. But the circumstances surrounding this game are different. Chicago might want to just rest their starters if they have nothing to play for.
As of right now, the Bears do have motivation to beat the Vikings. Doing so allows them to clinch the No. 2 seed nd a first-round bye IF the Rams also lose to the 49ers. Bears had coach Matt Nagy acknowledged this much on Monday.
NAGY: For us, right now, with where we’re at, having to have to win, obviously a lot of that is … the only thing that matters by us winning is the Rams need to lose. And then the other part of that is if you win, then, depending on some other stuff for the Vikings, with what can happen on their end, but we can’t control that. So, if we go out, we try to win, and do everything we can to do that, we can at least control what we can control. It gives us an ability throughout the week to prepare mentally, physically. You stay within that same pattern you’ve been staying in all season long.
That the Bears are going to try to win certainly comes to Doug Pederson’s delight.
Q. Are you going to call Matt Nagy this week and ask for a little bit of help?
DOUG PEDERSON: I might. Maybe I’ve done that, we’ll have to see. Maybe I’ve already done that this morning. [Laughter]
But Nagy was also asked about if Chicago plans to pull their starters if they see the Rams get out to a big lead on the 49ers and it’s clear there’s nothing more to play for. He didn’t rule out the possibility.
NAGY: You have to be realistic in some of this. I don’t know what that number [of points] is, or where it’s at [in the game]. It’s going to be hard because you’re so focused in on your own game. I don’t even know where they flash the scores at in our own stadium with the games. So we’ll have a plan in regards to being smart. You’ve got to be smart about it. If it’s a complete blowout, and word gets to me about that, then we have to figure out what the best thing is for us. But we’re trying to, we’re going to win this football game. I don’t know want our guys, our coaches, our players, or anybody thinking any different. But it’s such a unique situation, that I think it can it can be, any way you look at, it can be criticized some any angle. So, I don’t know if there’s 100% a right answer other than saying we’re doing everything we can to possibly win. And then, I think it’s one of those deals where as you go you just kind of got to get a feel of your own game, and you’ve got to get a feel of what’s going on in that game. Because that other game does matter with the Rams.
The NFL did the Eagles no favors by flexing the start time of the Bears vs. Vikings game to 4:25 PM ET. If the game took place at 1:00 PM ET, as originally scheduled, the Bears couldn’t keep an eye on the Rams game because Los Angeles wasn’t set to play until 4:25 PM.
Then again, it’s hard to be too bitter about the rescheduling because the Eagles can only blame themselves for being in a position where they need help to make the playoffs in Week 17.
The hope is that the 49ers can at least play the Rams tough. There’s some reasonable hope they might be able to do that. Prior to beating a Cardinals team with the league’s worst record, Los Angeles was struggling a bit.
The 49ers, meanwhile, beat the Broncos and Seahawks in back-to-back weeks before almost finding a way to knock off Chicago. San Francisco already has their franchise quarterback already so it’s not like they need to lose for draft position. Kyle Shanahan could relish in knocking Sean McVay out of a first-round bye.
So, in addition to being big Bears fans, the Eagles are also big 49ers fans this week.