By now you’ve already read our special, and massive, playoff edition of
Five Ten Questions With Bleeding Green Nation, to get us the inside scoop on the Philadelphia Eagles before they travel to the Windy City for a Wildcard match-up against the NFC North Champion Chicago Bears. BGN Editor In Chief, Brandon Lee Gowton, did such a fantastic job answering all ten questions from us, that I had to bug him again and get his take on the three ways he thinks the Bears can knock off his Eagles.
To be fair, I also gave him three ways I think the Eagles could win on Sunday, but mine we’re all a lie...
Here’s my version of this exercise, and to see the three reasons that Brandon has for the Bears winning the game on Sunday, read on.
Bad Nick Foles shows up
It may sound like I’m making this up, but Nick Foles is actually capable of having bad games.
Look no further than the 50.7 passer rating performance he had back in Week 1. The reality is that Foles can be a streaky player.
When he’s hot, almost no one is hotter. He’s getting the ball out quick and delivering accurate passes all over the field.
When he’s cold, he can look absolutely awful out there. He’s leaving easy throws on the field and making some awful decisions, like his interception from last week’s game.
Foles has been playing very well for the Eagles recently. Over the last three weeks, he ranks first in passing yards, completion percentage, yards per attempt, and net yards per pass play. But he also accumulated those stats before he had to leave Week 17’s game early with bruised ribs. If the Bears are able to hit him often, an injured Foles might resemble a standard backup quarterback more than a reigning Super Bowl MVP.
Red zone defense falters
The Eagles defense has been playing better as of late but it’s not an absolute shutdown unit. Jim Schwartz’s unit ranks just 23rd in opponent yards per play. The Eagles are typically going to allow teams to move the ball on them.
But while they might bend, they usually don’t break. Philadelphia has the league’s No. 1 red zone defense. Opponents are converting touchdowns on just 44.64% of their red zone visits. The Eagles’ strength in this area will be put to the test by Bears offense that ranks fifth in red zone offense.
It’s going to be difficult for the Eagles to keep up with the Bears if they’re scoring a lot of points. Philadelphia probably isn’t going to be able to score a ton against Chicago’s defense.
Failing to get stops in the red zone also means fewer opportunities for missed kicks by Cody Parkey, which could be big for the Eagles.
Bears have home field advantage
The Bears are 7-1 at home this season with their one loss coming to the Patriots. And the Bears were just one yard short of sending that game into overtime.
The Eagles, meanwhile, are 3-4 in true road games this season (Jaguars matchup was in London). Two of those three road wins have come in the last three weeks, yes, but the Eagles had a lot of fans in Los Angeles and Washington. Eagles fans always travel well but I can’t just expect them to have such a dominating presence at Soldier Field.
Another thing to consider is that the Eagles didn’t have to play on the road in the playoffs last year. Foles has never played a road playoff game. So when we’re talking about comparisons between the 2017 and 2018 squads, that’s a key difference. This will be a new experience for them.
Thanks Brandon, we all hope you’re right about these!
p.s. Do you guys think I should tell him that the Bears have a Khalil Mack?