Three-And-Out: Eagles-Bears Predictions

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Before we get to the predictions, here’s the iTunes link to this week’s podcast. Tim and Sheil talked Eagles-Bears, expectations for the final two weeks and more on 97.5 The Fanatic.

Player I’ll be watching:


McManus: Brandon Boykin

The cornerback returned to practice Thursday after being sidelined earlier in the week with a concussion. The fact that he'll be able to play in this one is big. The secondary needs all hands on deck to try and slow a dangerous Chicago pass attack. Brandon Marshall will line up inside at times, making Boykin's role that much more critical.

"He''ll motion and they make different formations, but there are times when he'll be in the slot specifically," said Boykin. "They look for him. I plan on being matched up with him head-to-head."

That's a big test for Boykin, but he's by far the best inside cover man on the Eagles, so better him than the alternative.

Kapadia: Fletcher Cox

After last week's abysmal defensive showing, Chip Kelly singled Cox out as one of the few bright spots against the Vikings. The second-year defensive tackle set a season-high with eight tackles to go along with a quarterback hurry.

Given the Bears' talent at wide receiver, I'm not sure we're going to see Billy Davis blitz much in this one. That means the Eagles have to be able to get pressure from their defensive linemen. Cox doesn't have a sack in his last six games, but he's played at a consistently high level.

Getting to Jay Cutler will not be easy. The Bears have allowed 24 sacks this season, third-fewest in the NFL. Davis needs Cox to create havoc on the interior, specifically as a pass-rusher.

Prop bet of the week:

Quarters played by the key starters (LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, etc.) -- 2 1/2 . Whaddya got?

McManus: I'm going over. If Dallas beats Washington earlier in the day as many expect, the outcome of the Chicago game will not impact the NFC East race. Only potential seeding is on the line in this scenario. With the big showdown in Dallas looming, there is logic in resting some of your starters so they can be healthy and fresh for the biggest game of the season.

Kelly said that he will not sit his guys in that situation. I believe that is the right thing to say. For all he knows the Cowboys could fall to Washington, which would give the Eagles an opportunity to clinch the division with a win over Chicago. It's best not to plant the seed that some of his stars could get the night off. He needs them dialed in should they have a chance to seal the NFC East Sunday night.

I realize he could change his tune if Dallas ends up winning, but I'm betting that he'll be true to his word. For one, the importance of seeding shouldn't be overlooked; it's best to put off a trip to Seattle for as long as possible this postseason. Second, I think Kelly wants his offense to get as many reps as possible in the name of fine-tuning this thing. Not sure he's going to just give snaps away. Plus, I think he'd prefer to recapture momentum rather than going into the Cowboys game on a two-game slide.

Kapadia: This is a tough one on so many levels. I agree with most of what you said there, T-Mac. Seeding does matter, especially when you have a team like Seattle in your bracket that is close to unbeatable at home.

Then again, it might be appealing to put McCoy, Jackson and Nick Foles on the shelf to gear up for the finale. In the end, I think the advantages of playing starters outweigh the potential negatives, so I'll take the over as well.

Sunday's going to be a lot of fun. Remember, if the Lions lose and the Packers win, all of a sudden the Bears will have nothing to play for in the night game (other than seeding). Can you imagine if those two things happen and the Cowboys lose to the Redskins?

The Eagles could potentially be competing against some of Chicago's backups with a chance to lock up the NFC East.

Predictions:

McManus: Bears 31, Eagles 27

A bunch of variables in this one. This could be the most significant game of the season for the Eagles, or it could be the equivalent of an appetizer before the main dish next week. The Bears are in a similar situation: depending on how the early games shake out they could be playing for the NFC North crown, or the game could have no impact on their division race.

I'll guess that the Cowboys will win, making this game less significant for the Eagles, and that Chicago will have something to play for. Even if Kelly wants his team to approach the game the same way regardless, the psychological edge would belong to the Bears in this scenario.

Kapadia: Bears 37, Eagles 34

We're on the same page this week. I won't put anything past Dallas - especially after last week - but the guess here is that the Cowboys will win their early game.

There's absolutely a difference between "win and we clinch a playoff spot" and "this game only matters for seeding." Given what we saw last week, it's tough for me to see the Eagles slowing down Chicago's passing attack.

Having said that, the Bears should have no shot at containing McCoy. So I'm sensing a shootout. The difference could be special teams, and if that happens, the Bears have the edge.

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  • G_WallyHunter

    Sunday’s going to be a lot of fun. Remember, if the Lions lose and the Packers win, all of a sudden the Bears will have nothing to play for in the night game (other than seeding). Can you imagine if those two things happen and the Cowboys lose to the Redskins?

    The Eagles could potentially be competing against some of Chicago’s backups with a chance to lock up the NFC East.

    Please lord, I don’t ask for much.
    GO F.PACKERS GO GINAS AND GO REDSKINS!!!

    • bertinanth764

      My Uncle Christopher got
      a nine month old Volkswagen Beetle by working parttime from a computer. top
      article B­i­g­2­9­.­ℂ­o­m

      • Richard Colton

        My uncle Howie got me a 24 year old franchise QB in the 3rd round by working full time on his big board.

        • jabostick

          And I just saved 15% on my car insurance!

          • G_WallyHunter

            For 15 minutes?

        • Andy124

          Nice.

    • Justin W

      That sounds like a lot of math. I’d rather the Eagles just win the next 2 games and pound their way into the post-season.

      • G_WallyHunter

        3 games need to go the right way yes, please lord.
        The giants one is probably the least likely

    • CheeseSteakHead

      Not quite. The NFC North is pretty cutthroat right now.

      If the Packers win on Sunday, Chicago still needs to beat them next week to make the playoffs. Detroit is a non-issue unless they win out.

      Bottom line: The Packers took care of Dallas for you guys last week, so we’d appreciate it if our Eagles bros stomped the Bears (if we lose to Pittsburgh). Thanks!

      • G_WallyHunter

        I was only quoting Tim

  • nicksaenz1

    “That’s a big test for Boykin, but he’s by far the best inside cover man on the Eagles, so better him than the alternative.”

    Correction: He’s their best cover man. Period.

    • Clamdigger

      Based on…?

      • theycallmerob

        If I may:

        All we need to do is add up all the WPA (or EPA) for each play in which the WPA (or EPA) was positive. “+WPA” and “+EPA” add up the value of every sack, interception, pass defense, forced fumble or recovery, and every tackle or assist that results in a setback for the offense.
        What these stats measure is “playmaking” ability.

        http://www.advancednflstats.com/2010/03/measuring-defensive-playmakers.html

        Then, the Eagles specificallly:

        http://wp.advancednflstats.com/defteamyear.php?year=2013&team=PHI

        For baseball fans, this stat is similar to WAR

        • cloisterwater

          Well when you put it that way….

        • Clamdigger

          Boykin has barely played outside, therefore, there’s not a large enough sample size to say whether or not he would be better than Fletcher/Williams on the outside. I do think that him and Cox are the best two defensive players on the team, though.

          • theycallmerob

            Of course Boykin does not play much outside, but I think the comment was more re: him being the best cover DB on the team. I think that’s a pretty fair judgment to declare; Boykin has played enough overall snaps to be considered for stats such as QB rating against, YPC allowed, completion rate, etc. In almost all of those categories, he ranks at the top. Plus, for those who place value in the typical “playmaker” stats, he leads the DBs in FFs and INTs as well.
            Do you have a case for Williams or Fletch? Both have been average or above starters, but I don’t think either one would have “cover skills” listed in their strengths
            Personally, I’d rather not have him on the outside anyway. Jeffery and Marshall are both very, very large.

          • G_WallyHunter

            And neither of them in their second year!

          • nicksaenz1

            Nicely done, sir.

          • Clamdigger

            Outside and inside are two totally different positions. The way the position is played is completely different. Boykin could continually get torched on the outside. The only conclusion you can draw from Boykin’s play is that he is the best INSIDE cover man. Again, it would be irresponsible to write that he’d still be the best cover man on the team, even playing outside.

            That being said, he is probably one of the best nickels in the league.

    • Max Lightfoot

      And some days Boykin is their only cover man.

  • Beavis

    Ugh. I agree with both predicitions. I’m planning on going to the game, but really want a reason not to go. Can this be it?
    I mean, I plan on being back at the Linc on Jan. 4 for a playoff game any way.

  • theycallmerob
    • cloisterwater

      I just finished reading that. Great read.

      • Richard Colton

        “Jones has assembled maybe the worst defense in history and spent more than $100 million on a quarterback not worth a dime under pressure…”

        • G_WallyHunter

          And there’s the cowgirls in a nutshell…

          But hey, how about Monte Kiffin? He’s awesome

  • Joe from Easton

    I’m not sure why everyone is so easily writing off the Dallas/Wash game as a W for Dallas. It’s a division game with a QB who’s playing for a job in this league against the worst passing defense in the NFL. Let’s not forget Alfred Morris can own a game by himself if the day is right. I say Washington rallies around Cousins and upsets those stinkin’ cowboys. Maybe I’m just dreaming though.

    • Andy124

      I’m not sure why everyone

      Who’s everyone?

      • Joe from Easton

        Sorry, Andy. I was being a bit rhetorical. I’ve just seen most analysts on the big networks as well as most of the fans’ comments all in agreement that Dallas will win that game hands down. Now Tim and Sheil both seem to agree as well. To be fair, they said they “guessed”, but I think there are plenty of ways the redskins can win. It seems that a lot of people want to perpetuate Dallas as contenders/best in the east as much as possible. It’s really just my hate for all of the Dallas love every week, every year. Someone just say they suck and can easily lose to the 3-11 Redskins, damn it!

        • Andy124

          Works for me. I think plenty of the comments in here are giving the Skins a good shot. I imagine most of the national media is not.

      • evanphilly

        I think people are overlooking Cousins to be honest. He has something to prove and the ‘Skins seemed a bit refreshed with him at the helm last week against Atlanta. This is also going to be London Fletcher’s final home game, so I bet you anything he wants to go out and smoke the ‘Boys. Washington by at least 10.

        • Andy124

          Yeah. The game looks like a coin flip at worst to me.

        • Joe from Easton

          Damn Evan, I hope you’re right.

      • EaglePete

        a lot of talk is about the next meeting vs the boys fro the most part. Ive been preachin a Skins win all week, hear hear.

        • Joe from Easton

          I’m pullin’ for Cousins & crew.

      • BlindChow

        He may as well have said “you people”!

        • Andy124

          What do you mean, “You people”?

    • Kev_H

      Redskin world HATES Dallas 5 to 10 times as much as we do. I attend some of their games and their stadium literally erupts any time Dallas gives up points no matter how the Redskins are doing or if it is even preseason. I’m sure they’ll show up to play.

  • evanphilly

    Lance Briggs has been medically cleared to play, so if Trestman gives him the OK, then that will give the Bears an unwanted boost (from an Eagles perspective) on D. If things got the Eagles way, then he may not even play. I think Washington wins big against the Cowboys, especially if this is Fletcher’s final game as a ‘Skin….no way he wants his last home game to go down as a loss to Dallas.

    Eagles D wants a bounce back game and I think they get it. They pick Cutler 3 times and are able to keep Forte in check for the most part. Jefferies and Marshall will get theirs, but it won;t be enough as the Eagles O controls the game with Shady getting 25 carries and 150+ yards. Foles manages the game better than he did last week and come 1215 AM on Monday morning, we are celebrating an NFC East title!

  • jabostick

    On an unrelated note… I’m hoping to sneak out of work early today and I’m not terribly active in discussions when I’m at home so, Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to Tim, Sheil, and everyone here!

    Have fun, drive sober, go Eagles.

    • theycallmerob

      I plan on walking drunk :) you too

    • EaglePete

      indeed, happy holidays folks, as John said above the Eagles have given us a gift of a season so far, lets hope it keeps rolling.

  • John J. King

    Ain’t we got fun? Whodathunk the Iggs would be in the thick by this time. A Christmas present already. Pray the New Year has them still going.

  • Kelz

    I disagree..Im not an analyst at all. .Here’s my take..Dallas are infamous for CHOKING..So beating the Skins is not a forgone conclusion( look at the Cowboys D the last 2 weeks against back up QB’s and teams they were supposed to beat) Redskins will win this with the inspired play of Cousins.
    The Eagles will not have a repeat performance of last week and will pound the Bears to a pulp. Big game from Foles Shady DJax Ertz Cooper and Vick!

  • Kev_H

    It’s supposed to be storming at game time and windy/rainy throughout. I think that’s the big story going in.