The Bears are locked into the number three seed in the NFC so they will open the playoffs at home Sunday afternoon against the Eagles.
Both teams have momentum. The Bears have won their last four games and nine of their last ten. The Eagles have won their last three games and five of their last six.
The Eagles have been a different team since Nick Foles took over at quarterback three weeks ago when Carson Wentz went down with a back injury. Can Foles work the same playoff magic that he did last year when the led the Eagles to the Super Bowl Championship and he was named the Super Bowl MVP?
Two weeks ago he set an Eagles’ record by passing for 471 yards in a win against the Texans. Foles suffered bruised ribs last week, but the Eagles say he’ll be ready to face the Bears.
The other key guy to watch on the Eagles’ is tight end Zach Ertz. He set an NFL record for tight ends this season by hauling in 116 receptions for more than 11 hundred yards and eight touchdowns. When the pressure is on Foles, Ertz is his safety valve.
And the Bears will be bringing the pressure with the best defense in the NFL. Statistically they finished the regular season ranked third in the league in yards allowed. But they gave up the fewest points of any defense. They were number one against the run, and they led the league in takeaways with 36. That defense will be ready Sunday.
The big question for the Bears is will Mitch Trubisky be ready? This will be his first playoff experience. Can he step up and avoid costly mistakes? Having this first playoff game of his career at home with the crowd in his corner will certainly help, plus the Eagles banged-up defense ranks only 23rd in the NFL.
There aren’t many Bears on this roster who have playoff experience. Matt Nagy wants his guys to know the action and the atmosphere will be much different than it was during the regular season. He said this week quote, “The intensity is completely different. It’s not even close. I think that’s the message that our guys have got to understand, the guys that haven’t been a part of it. This is where it gets real.”
Again for the inexperienced Bears having this first playoff game at home is huge. During the regular season the Bears were 7-1 at Soldier Field. Their only loss was to the Patriots.
Kickoff Sunday will be at 3:40 Central Time, 4:40 Eastern.