Chicago Bears (8-6 SU, 4-9-1 ATS) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (8-6 SU, 7-7) ATS)
NFL Football Week 16
Date and Time: Sunday Night Football December 22nd, 2013. 8:30PM Eastern
Where: Lincoln Financial Field Philadelphia, P.A.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Chi +3/Phil -3
Over/Under Total: 56
Sunday Night Football will gather under the lights of Lincoln Financial Field this week when the Philadelphia Eagles host the Chicago Bears with postseason implications on the line. Both the Bears and Eagles are in identical scenarios. At 8-6 SU, both teams have a 1 game advantage over all other opponents in their respected divisions. However a loss would certainly open the door and allow a few possible outsiders the chance to slip into the playoffs. Therefore Sunday's nights showdown in Philadelphia will be huge for both the Bears and Eagles as each team looks to remain in control of their own destiny.
The visiting Eagles have been one of the hottest teams in the NFL as of late. First year head coach Chip Kelly has been getting excellent production of quarterback Nick Foles which has elevated the offense. Foles has tossed 23 touchdowns with just 2 picks since taking over the starting job from Michael Vick and has solved the quarterback problems in Philadelphia or at least for now. Running back LeSean McCoy has also elevated his game under Kelly. McCoy currently leads the NFL in rushing with 1,343 yards and 7 touchdowns on the season. McCoy has helped the Eagles to a healthy average of 153 yards per game on the ground which ranks 1st in the NFL.
If you have kept up with the Bears this season, then you likely know how bad Chicago has defended the run. The Bears not only rank dead last against the run allowing 152 yards per game but they also went through a stretch of 5 straight games of allowing a 100 yard rusher prior to last week's 38-31 over Cleveland. Needless to say, the NFL's worst rushing defense is going to have their hands full against McCoy and the Eagles when both sides collide this Sunday night.
As far as last week's win over the Browns in concerned, it was the first game back for Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. The Bears quarterback had been sidelined for 4 consecutive games with a high ankle sprain. Cutler returned to throw two early interceptions including a pick 6 that Browns safety Tashaun Gipson ran back early in the football game. However, Cutler was able to rebound and throw for 265 yards with 3 passing touchdowns to lead the Bears to victory. Both star receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery came up with huge plays down the stretch to help the cause. Marshall led the team with 6 catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. While Jeffery added yet another brilliant 45 yard touchdown grab between two defenders which was one of the plays of the week. Jeffery has been making those big plays consistently the last few weeks which has been pivotal in helping the Bears overcome their defensive woes and continue to win games.
Marshall and Jeffery are both big physical receivers that seem to always come down with the football. Now both receivers will get the chance to continue their impressive play against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL. Philadelphia ranks 2nd to last against the pass allowing 292 yards per game. I already mentioned Chicago's big disadvantage against the Eagles rushing attack but they will have a chance to counter with their own advantage in the passing game. Needless to say the struggles of both defenses should keep this game exciting for fans watching at home. The total 56 is the highest of any NFL game in week 16 and perhaps justifiable considering how well both offenses find the end zone. The question is who will come out on top?
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Both offenses should score some points in this game but I like the Eagles and their ability to control the football. Not only does Philadelphia's rushing attack allow them to control the football but they also do not turn over the football. At times Jay Cutler has Tony Romo syndrome and I think that will be the case this Sunday as the Bears give up one too many turnovers. Take Philadelphia -3!
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