Going into Sunday’s Windy City Showdown the Eagles are favored over the Bears.
The Bears are 3.5-point underdogs at home, according to Las Vegas odds makers.
Both teams boast the same 7-3 record and both teams sit atop their divisions.
But that’s where the similarities end. So should the Birds be the favorite especially since they are playing on the road?
The stats point towards yes.
The Bears are only 3-2 at Soldier Field while the Eagles are an impressive 4-1 on the road. And last year the Eagles beat the Bears 24-20 in Chicago. Advantage Philly.
And the advantage easily belongs to the Eagles on the offensive side of the ball.
The Michael Vick-led Eagles have the No. 2 overall ranked offense (399.4 yards per game) in the NFL while the Jay Cutler-led Bears are 30th (294.4 YPG). The Eagles are No. 8 in passing (248.6 YPG) while the Bears are 27th (195.4 YPG). And the Eagles are No. 3 in rushing (150.8 YPG) while the Bears are 20th (99.0 YPG).
The Eagles also averaged 28.4 points per game (No. 2 in football) compared to 19.1 PPG (19th overall) for the Bears.
Looking at stats like that it’s amazing the spread isn’t bigger -- that is until you look at the defensive stats.
Defense is the reason that the Bears are even being given a chance in this game. Yes Stewart Bradley’s/Trent Cole’s Eagles are good, but Brian Urlacher’s/Julius Peppers’ Bears are just better.
The rejuvenated Monsters of the Midway are 3rd in total D (290.5 YPG), 13th in passing (212.4 YPG) and 2nd in rushing (78.0 YPG). And the Bears lead the NFL while giving up just 14.6 PPG.
On the other side the Eagles are 9th in total D (313.3 YPG), 14th in passing (213.6 YPG) and 8th in rushing (99.7 YPG). Gang green is 19th in points allowed as opponents have scored 22.6 PPG. Of course if star defensive back Asante Samuel can’t play due to injury that Eagles pass defense –- which leads the NFL with 19 interceptions –- could be drastically more vulnerable.
There is an old saying that a good defense always beats a good offense. Since the Bears are coming off a shutout of the Dolphins their defense couldn’t be any better right now. But, this game is different because the Bears have yet to face a team with the Eagles level of talent at the skill positions.
The combo of Vick, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy easily beats whatever the Fins shuffled onto the field last week.
This game should be the rare case where good offense beats good defense. If you’re a betting person (and I’m in no way promoting gambling here) then bet on the Birds. But be weary of the 42-point over/under -- the final combined score could be right around that number.
My pick the Eagles cover, 27-16.