Foles and the Eagles look to recapture playoff magic, starting against the Bears


The Philadelphia Eagles are all aboard riding the Nick Foles express again as they head into Chicago to take on Khalil Mack and the Bears. The Eagles are 5-1 heading into the postseason, including three straight wins led by the last year’s Super Bowl MVP. They will go up against a Bears team that has been locked in for weeks with a terrific defense lead by All-Pro outside linebacker Mack.

This matchup will come down to how well the offense lines handle the opposing front seven.  The Bears Defense has been one of the best in the league. They rank first in both points allowed per game (17.7) and the run (80.0) while being third in total yards allowed per game (299.7) and seventh against the pass (219.7) . The Eagles struggled with injuries amongst their vaunted pass rushers throughout most of the year but the past few weeks, they’ve all got healthy and ferocious again – Michael Bennett’s play down the stretch has been a particular highlight – reminding many of the unit that delivered them a Super Bowl last year.

Offensive coordinator Mike Groh and Head Coach Doug Pederson will have their hands full trying to succeed against a dominant Chicago defense.  The Bears ranked first in the league in scoring defense (17.7 points per game), takeaways (36) and third in sacks (50).  Mack leads the Bears with 12.5 sacks and Philadelphia’s ability to make sure he does not take control of this game will be imperative for their success.

The Eagles have found success against premier pass rushers in recent weeks (against the Rams, Texans), having Foles throw quick balls on time to beat the blitz, so they will look to continue their success against pressure.

Mitchell Trubisky will enter into his first career playoff game for Chicago and a chance to ruffle the young QB’s feathers will present itself. The Eagles finished the season with 44 sacks but ten of those sacks have come in the last three weeks. With a healthy defensive line featuring Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and Michael Bennett, they will be able to find ways to pressure Trubisky.  The former North Carolina Tar Heel Quarterback has had a strong season so far but this is his biggest test yet.

Since both teams have such ferocious pass rushes, the game may invariably come down to the running game, especially in a contest that will likely have terrible weather and even worse field conditions (Soldier Field is notorious for having terrible turf).  With Jay Ajayi out for the season, the Pederson has had to rely on Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement and an aging Darren Sproles to carry the ground game to mixed success.

Meanwhile, Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy has utilised the steady, downhill running of Jordan Howard with the explosive Tarik Cohen to get one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL.


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based in Frederick, MD, USA. Multi-sport correspondent for Prost International and Prost Amerika focusing mainly on Soccer/Football and American Football

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