Bleeding Green Nation already took some time to chat with Windy City Gridiron in order to preview this week’s Philadelphia Eagles versus Chicago Bears playoff matchup. (You can read that here.) Today, we’re back with three reasons why each team might lose. This format forces us to consider each team’s weaknesses, rather than just being homers.
So, below are three reasons why the Bears could lose, as written by Windy City Gridiron’s Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. To see why I think the Eagles could lose, check out WCG.
The Bears pass rush falters
Everything the Bears want to do defensively is predicated on the pass rush getting home. The secondary has had such a good year because they’ve been able to aggressively play receivers knowing the ball would be coming out earlier than the offense wants. Pro Bowl free safety Eddie Jackson (who has been hurt, but is expected to play) and Pro Bowl corner Kyle Fuller, have both been able to jump routes when the pressure has gotten home. The two of them have combined for thirteen interceptions and thirty-six passed defended. But this is the NFL, and any quarterback will find a receiver if he has time. Stop Khalil Mack and company and Nick Foles will beat you.
The Eagles shut down Jordan Howard
Howard and the Bears running game has been getting hot at the right time. The weather has turned cold, the games are getting tighter, and we’re seeing Matt Nagy’s offense evolve with Howard averaging 80 yards a game over the last five weeks and 4.5 yards per carry. Howard running well helps set up Mitchell Trubisky’s RPOs, his read options, and the traditional play action. All things that puts stress on a defense. I think the Eagles will want to make the Bears one dimensional and force Trubisky to beat them.
Postseason experience overwhelms Chicago
This goes back to my last point, and the Eagles taking away the running game and forcing Trubisky to make plays in the playoffs. We’ve seen him step up and deliver huge third down plays this year, but the playoffs are a different animal. Can these young Bears deliver in crunch time when they need to? A missed third down in week 13 is a lot more pressure-packed than one midway through the 4th quarter of a wildcard game with a tied score.The Eagles have been there, while only a few Bears have felt postseason pressure. These Bears have been loose all year, but how will they react if Cody Parkey misses an extra point early? How will the handle playoff adversity? We’ve seen young teams take steps by losing in the playoffs only to come back hungrier the next year. Maybe that’s the fate of the 2018 Bears.