Losing sucks. Especially when we were on such a nice winning streak for a few weeks. We lost our pick yesterday with Dallas laying 11′, the Cowboys could only muster a 10 point win. They had plenty of chances to expand the lead but they ended up with early FG’s instead of TD’s, and a late 4th quarter TD drive from Seattle sealed the pointspread loss. It wasn’t quite a backdoor cover because there was still six minutes left, but it felt the same. That’s karma for betting on the Cowboys, I guess. Oh, and Eli drove 80 yards at the end of the 4th quarter to beat the Patriots in Foxboro? Bad Sunday all around.
Ok, enough looking back let’s look forward to tonight’s big Eagles matchup.
Monday Night Football, Eagles vs. Chicago Bears. Let’s make a pick and get back on the winning track.
So, it wasn’t too long ago that the ‘football experts’ were throwing dirt on the Eagles’ grave. Andy was on his way out, the Dream Team was a bust, you can’t buy a championship, etc. Now, after two division wins including an impressive beatdown of the Cowboys last week, the Eagles are suddenly the ‘hot’ team in the NFL. Everyone in town is back on the bandwagon (or so says Jason Avant) and the rest of the league is taking notice. Note to Jason: we never left.
The division race is heating up, it’s currently a three way race with the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys. Every week is a must win now for the Eagles as they try to keep pace. And with the Giants beating the Patriots on Sunday, we need this win even more. A loss will drop us 3 games out, and that would be tough to recover from with 8 games left. Really, there’s not alot of margin for error at this point in the season for Andy and the boys.
The Bears, on the other hand, are 4-3 but seemingly in a worse position than the Eagles. Forget division title, they’re probably looking at a wildcard spot at best. Yes, they are 4-3 (better record than the Eagles), but they’re not catching the Packers for the division title. They beat Atlanta at home to open the season, but since then they have pretty much beaten the bad teams and lost to the good teams. They have wins against Minnesota, Tampa Bay and Carolina (and Atlanta), and losses to New Orleans, Detroit and Green Bay. All the losses were by double digits, so maybe the Eagles laying eight is the play? I don’t know. I think this will be a tight, low scoring game. So I decided to look at the total.
I know I’m killing you all with the UNDER picks lately, but I’m doing it again. I like the Eagles/Bears UNDER 47.5. UNDERs hit big on Sunday, 10 of 13 games went under, including all of the 1pm games.
Also, another trend to note is that teams off of the bye week (like the Bears) have hit 17 UNDERS in 23 games this season (including Sundays games). Note: The Eagles were coming off of a bye week last week and went UNDER.
The Eagles got a big win last Sunday night over Dallas, 34-7, and they were in control the whole game. The offense continued to show that they can move the ball, Shady took his game to another level (is he the best RB? 2nd best behind AP?), and the defense showed that they can step up and shut down a good offense. Chicago had a bye week, and 2 weeks ago they were in London to play the Bucs and they came away with a 24-18 win as 1.5 point favorites. They’re coming in rested and ready.
I’m expecting the Bears to keep it on the ground and not try to challenge our D-backs, I don’t think Jay Cutler has it in him to beat us by himself and the Bears know this. I would expect Chicago to rely on Forte for most of the offense (rushing , or catching passes out of the backfield). And since the Eagles are only ranked 30th vs the run (and 8th vs. the pass), I think that might be a good choice for Chicago.
The Eagles defense has clamped down the past two games, giving up 13 points to Washington and 7 to Dallas. That, coupled with the Bears relying on the run, makes me think that this will be a ball control, short yardage type of game. Which would lend itself to the UNDER.
The Chicago defense is good. Ranked 10th overall at FootballOutsiders.com (12th vs. run and 12 vs. pass). Mike Vick and the offense have been playing well the past few games, so I expect them to be able to move the ball, but probably not at the rate they did vs. Dallas. Chicago D has played well the past 2 games, giving up less than 300 yards total offense in both games, and under 50 yard rushing (vs. Vikings: 286 total yards (50 yards rushing); vs. Bucs: 280 total yards (30 yard rushing)).
I’m expecting a low scoring, ball control type of game. Weather won’t be an issue, but it will be cold at gametime (40 degrees and clear skies). How about we keep giving it to Shady, Vick pulls out a few tricks, we control Forte and the Eagles move to .500 with a 27-10 win.
The Line: Eagles -8, O/U 47.5
The Pick: Eagles / Bears UNDER 47.5
Game Trends (via Covers.com): Chicago: Under is 20-8 in CHI last 28 road games.
Let’s get this one and close out the week with a winner.
Season Record: 10-7. You can see all my picks for the 2011 season documented here.
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