It is the best of times. It is the not-so-bad of times? Two of America’s storied cities are going to be represented this Sunday, and at the moment their teams could not be more different than each other – but that could change soon.
The Philadelphia Eagles are currently the best team in the league, maintaining a 12-1 record and inching closer and closer to locking in the #1 seed for the NFC. On the other hand, the Chicago Bears are one of only three teams officially eliminated from playoff contention with a 3-10 record. Even with such a large disparity between the two teams, this game is far from inconsequential. Simply put, the Eagles still want to win, as their biggest opponent is their division rival, the 10-3 Dallas Cowboys. If the Eagles falter at all late in the season, there is a chance they give up not only their #1 seed, but also the NFC East championship to the Cowboys. While playoffs are guaranteed, their work is far from over. On the other side of the field, while it may seem like the Bears are just hovering around and waiting for the season to end, this is not the case. Even though their record is so dire, it is not the end of the world, because they are in a rebuilding year and have consistently found rhythm. Quarterback Justin Fields is one of the most exciting players in the league right now, and has been the captain of a newly explosive offense. A matchup against the Eagles grants the young star a chance to test his mettle against one of the best defenses in the NFL. Any and all reps are crucial for Fields to help him meld with the Chicago Bears new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. As more and more of the offensive kinks get ironed out, many Bears fans hope Justin Fields will look much like Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts next year. Hurts has taken a huge jump in performance from his last season, going from a prospect with some talent to an MVP candidate. Fields has made his talent clear, now he just needs time, more weapons, and for his defense to shore up their capabilities.
Looking at Sunday, it should be an Eagles victory, not that even Bears fans are expecting anything else. Chicago is just happy to watch Fields play. The Bears are really beat up, with top safety Eddie Jackson and top wide receiver Darnell Mooney on IR, along with stout running back Khalil Herbert. Newly acquired wide receiver Chase Claypool is out with a knee injury, and former first-round pick N’Keal Harry is questionable with a back injury. That leaves Equanimeous St. Brown as WR #1, and probably means WR Velus Jones Jr. could see more time on the field on offense rather than just special teams. Bears fans should expect to see tight end Cole Khmet get more action, as he has established a more offensive presence in the waning hours of this season. Even though the offense is decimated, the defense is back to semi-healthy. Chicago’s star rookie cornerbacks Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker are back in action after clearing concussion protocol. This gives them a chance to test their skills against Jalen Hurts and star Eagles WR A.J. Brown.
The Eagles are not so injured, and boast superstars on all sides. Alongside those offensive elites, they boast incredible playmakers on defense including cornerback Darius Slay and defense tackle Fletcher Cox. The Bears have quite the test ahead of them, and while a win isn’t expected, player growth is what fans hope to see.
42 – 28 Eagles