Monday Night NFL Picks: Chicago Bears @ Philadelphia Eagles Monday Night NFL Week 9 Vegas Odds, Free Picks, and Expert Predictions on ESPN 11/7/11: Last year, the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles were champions of their respective divisions. This season, both franchises are fighting for their playoffs live as Chicago (4-3) goes on the road to face Philadelphia (3-4) Monday night. Neither team can afford a loss, with the Bears trailing both the undefeated Green Bay Packers and the surprising Detroit Lions in the NFC North and the Eagles looking up at the New York Giants. Coming off an impressive 34-7 win against the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia is a 7 ½-point favorite for Monday’s meeting.
In past years, a meeting between these two teams has been a battle between the explosive Philadelphia and the fierce Chicago defense. However, the Bears defense has been looking a little long in the tooth this season. Chicago’s secondary has been exposed repeatedly, ranking among the five worst in the NFL and giving up more than 270 yards a game through the air. The normally stout run defense has remained solid, but at 12th in the league, it is by no means elite. Not to mention the fact that the Bears have surrendered 24 points or more in four of their seven games this year.
Meanwhile, the Eagles offense has remained as explosive as ever. While turnovers in the red zone have led to some late game collapses, the Philadelphia offense is still dangerous. The Eagles own the top rushing attack in the NFL, piling up 180 yards per game on the ground. They also rank in the top 10 in terms of passing yards per game at just under 270 a contest. Michael Vick has been a big part of the success, doing plenty of damage with both his arm and his legs, but running back LeSean McCoy has been the workhorse. He has 754 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging more 5.6 yards a carry. Last weekend, McCoy ran wild on the top-ranked Dallas run defense, and that could spell serious trouble for the declining Chicago defense.
The X-factor for Chicago will likely be running back Matt Forte. He is the team’s leading rusher and receiver, piling up more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage already. The Eagles have had serious problems stopping the run this season, and if Forte can control the game on the ground for Chicago, the high-powered Philadelphia offense will be sitting on the sidelines. A slower pace and a lower score favor Chicago.
For the Eagles, their blitz-happy defensive system could pay huge dividends. After all, the Bears have had serious issues protecting quarterback Jay Cutler, and Cutler’s tendency to hold the ball a long time doesn’t help matters. If the sacks start to pile up, Forte becomes less effective and the chances of Cutler turning the ball over skyrocket. Giving Vick and company additional chances to score is a recipe for disaster.
In the end, the Eagles likely have too many offensive weapons for the Bears to keep pace. The Chicago defense is no longer a unit that completely shuts down opposing offenses, and the balanced, explosive attack of Philadelphia should be able to put up some points. While Forte should have a strong game, the Bears’ offensive line issues will take a toll in the long run. The Eagles have hit their stride after a slow start, and it will show on the scoreboard Monday night.
Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles (-7 ½) Cover the Spread
Free NFL Football Picks and Predictions: Philadelphia Eagles -7.5
|Week 9 NFL Football: Chicago Bears @ Philadelphia Eagles
Time: 8:35 PM EST on ESPN
Vegas Odds – Favorite: Philadelphia -8 Total: Over/Under 47
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