NFL Wild Card Weekend concludes on Sunday with a matchup between the Eagles and Bears. For this game and every postseason contest, we’ll break down the sports betting lines and recommend where to place your bets at DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook.
Keep an eye on injury news right up until kick off since things can change quickly in the NFL. Please note any player listed as questionable may see limited action or not suit up at all if he doesn’t respond well in warm-ups.
NFL Wild Card Football Betting Odds
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears
NFL Wild Card Football Breakdown
Playing the role of underdog once again, the Eagles have rallied around Nick Foles to win three straight, including a stunning road win at the Rams. The defending champs are the biggest underdogs on Wild Card Weekend on the road against the Bears‘ elite defense in a game with the lowest point total (41.5) of the weekend.
Foles has rekindled the magic of last year’s Super Bowl run with a 111.3 passer rating over his last two appearances. Plus, he completed 25 straight passes in a dismantling of the Redskins’ weak secondary last Sunday.
This matchup is obviously far more difficult against a Bears team that leads the NFL in DVOA pass defense, yards allowed per drive (25.97), points allowed per game (17.7), and interceptions (27). At Soldier Field, the Bears have yielded just two rushing scores and allow just 3.3 YPC. Visiting QBs have posted a 67.7 passer rating with an 11:14 TD:INT ratio in Chicago.
The Bears also average 3.25 QB hits per game and have the third-most sacks (50) this season with Khalil Mack joining elite defensive end Akiem Hicks as part of Vic Fangio‘s 3-4 defensive front.
Unfortunately for them, Philadelphia ranks 27th in DVOA rush offense. Josh Adams should handle carries in an effort to establish balance, but the Eagles will likely be forced to abandon the run. They can turn to Darren Sproles and Corey Clement as receiving options out of the backfield. Of course, Chicago has given up the eighth-fewest receiving yards (580) to opposing backs and ranks first in DVOA against short passes.
The one weakness for the Bears is over the middle of the field where they rank 18th and are a bit more vulnerable after losing nickel CB Bryce Callahan (foot) to I.R. Then, Bears safety Eddie Jackson (ankle) is questionable as well.
Nelson Agholor and Golden Tate are both capable of exploiting a matchup in the slot against backup CB Sherrick McManis. Along with elite outside CBs Prince Amukamara and Kyle Fuller, McManis is 6-foot-1 and may struggle to contain the quicker Tate. Thus, the longtime Detroit Lion is worth a dart throw in DFS contests on DraftKings.
Zach Ertz caught the most passes (116) by a TE in NFL history this year and the second-most receptions overall this season. Chicago ranks third in DVOA pass defense and will likely key in on Ertz in third-down situations.
Double teams on Ertz would force Alshon Jeffery to step up as the Eagles top receiving option. He draws a tough matchup against Fuller or Amukamara, but has topped 80 yards and/or scored a TD in 6-of-8 career starts with Foles under center. Of course, this is a revenge game for Jeffery against his former team, which does allow the fifth-most receptions (13.9) per game to opposing wide receivers.
Finally, secondary TE Dallas Goedert could factor into the game plan, as the Eagles look to capitalize on Chicago’s likely scheme to double team Ertz.
The Bears’ offense has been slightly below average this year. But Mitchell Trubisky has played turnover-free football over his last three appearances and has enjoyed the seventh-best starting field position on average. Trubisky has won eight consecutive starts and owns a 97.2 passer rating at home this season. He also averages 38.6 rushing YPG at home, and the Eagles have yielded 261 yards and four rushing TDs to his position.
The Eagles’ injury-depleted secondary has allowed the second-most passing yards (4,602) this season. Eagles CBs Ronald Darby (knee) and Jalen Mills (foot) are on I.R along with safety Rodney McLeod (knee).
Philadelphia is likely to start Avonte Maddox, Cre’Von LeBlanc, and Rasul Douglas in defensive nickel packages with CB Sidney Jones (hamstring) questionable.
Despite those injuries, DC Jim Schwartz has designed a great scheme to limit the opposition’s top receivers and stiffen in the red zone. Philly allows the second-fewest points (4.25) and the lowest TD percentage (44.6%) per red zone trip this season. The Eagles also rank sixth in opponent third-down conversion rate (35.3%).
Meanwhile, Chicago’s receivers are banged up. Allen Robinson (ribs), Taylor Gabriel (shoulder), and Anthony Miller (shoulder) are all questionable. Robinson and Gabriel are expected to play, while Miller is closer to doubtful. Gabriel could certainly be utilized as a downfield weapon against an Eagles team that’s allowed the third-most pass plays (60) of 20-plus yards this season.
Additionally, the Bears’ running game got on track with RG Kyle Long (foot/ankle) back in he lineup in Week 17, keying a season-high 109 rushing yards from Jordan Howard.
While the Eagles rank ninth in DVOA rush defense, they’re 24th in DVOA pass defense against opposing RBs this season. Therefore, dynamic receiving back Tarik Cohen is likely to see more snaps than Howard in this particular matchup. Still, Howard is the better bet for goal-line work.
Philly ranks seventh in DVOA pass defense against TEs, and former Eagles TE Trey Burton has maintained a limited role in the Bears’ offense. He could be utilized as a split end in the red zone. Finally, 6-foot-6 TE Adam Sheehan is a threat on play-action passes and an important blocker in Chicago’s “Jumbo” package.
NFL Wild Card Picks
Eagles HC Doug Pederson and Bears HC Matt Nagy were both assistants under Andy Reid in Kansas City. This should be an interesting chess match between two minds from the same coaching tree. Yet since former Philly OC Frank Reich is now with the Colts, Pederson and Foles may have trouble rekindling the magic that allowed them to stun the capable Vikings defense in the NFC Championship last year.
Both of these teams are excellent in terms of red-zone defense while the Bears’ offense ranks sixth in points per red zone trip.
Despite his lack of experience, Trubisky has far more athleticism than Foles. He is also likely to experience a cleaner pocket at home. We’d expect him to do enough to earn the Bears a win, but not cover the spread.
The Eagles (+6.5 on FanDuel Sporstbook) have proven time and again they can’t be counted out regardless of personnel. An experienced coaching staff, solid defense, and underrated QB should allow them to hang in this contest.
Since the Bears are 30th in pace of play and the Eagles are 27th, we’re expecting the Under (41.5 on DraftKings Sportsbook) to hit. It’s worth noting here that Bears kicker Cody Parkey has missed 12 FG and XP attempts this year, and the Eagles force the second-most FG attempts per red zone trip.