Eagles-Bears predictions

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Eagles-Bears predictions

Last Sunday night proved easier than expected.

Fresh off a 37-9 whooping of the Cowboys in Dallas, the Eagles return home to kick off against the Chicago Bears at Lincoln Financial Field (1 p.m./FOX).

Here are our expert predictions for the Week 12 matchup:

Reuben Frank (10-0)
This one could get ugly fast. Heck, lately, they’ve all been ugly. The Eagles have won three straight games by 23 or more points, and I fully expect that streak to increase to four Sunday. There have been only 12 instances in NFL history where a team has won four straight games by 23 or more points, most recently the 2004 Colts. Before that the 1961 Packers did it and so did the 1993 49ers. So if the Eagles do indeed blow out the Bears, they’ll be only the fourth team in the last 64 years to win four straight games by 23 or more points. The Eagles are just demolishing people right now, winning these last three by a combined 79 points. The Bears, meanwhile, come into Philly having lost three straight games and averaging just 15.3 points on offense this year, just 13.3 on the road. They’ve scored just six offensive touchdowns on the road all year. The Eagles have scored 21 offensive TDs at home. Blowout City.

Eagles 49, Bears 12

Dave Zangaro (8-2)
There's no such thing as a "trap game" for this Eagles team. 

So feel free to spend your day worrying about their focus against an inferior Bears team, but don't feel the need to. The Eagles aren't looking past the Bears, which means they're going to crush them. 

The Eagles had a bad half against the Cowboys and were still able to smoke them last week. If they come out just a little bit hotter Sunday afternoon, they'll put the Bears away early and keep the gas pedal to the floor. This Eagles team can taste blood in the water and there's a good chance they'll get the Bears bleeding early. 

Sure, Chicago's defense is OK and they can run the football. But the Eagles have scored 30-plus points in the last four games and the Bears haven't scored more than 27 all season. They're not going to be able to keep up. 

The Eagles win this one easy. 

Eagles 34, Bears 6

Derrick Gunn (9-1)
Their record says the Bears are a 3-7 team, but their play on the field shows they can be competitive. The Bears have lost their last three games by eight, seven and three points. Their three wins this season have been against Pittsburgh (in overtime), Baltimore and Carolina. They have an impressive run game that averages 131.8 yards, which is fifth-best in the league, featuring second-year back Jordan Howard, who is third in the league in rushing with 84.1 yards per game, and rookie Tarik Cohen. Both average over four yards per carry. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has shown promise, but he's still a rookie and prone to make mistakes. Chicago's offense averages just 17.4 points. Their defense is ranked 11th and can get after the quarterback with 29 sacks, tied for fourth-best in the league.

Unfortunately for the Bears, they are running into a red-hot Eagles squad that is firing on all cylinders on both sides of the ball. Carson Wentz and his crew are shredding defenses and the Birds’ defense is making Sundays miserable for opposing offenses. 

I look for this to be an entertaining game for maybe the first 30 minutes, then I expect the Birds to send the Bears into hibernation. 

Eagles 30, Bears 14 

Ray Didinger (9-1)
Last Sunday, the Eagles' offense went three-and-out on five straight possessions, looked totally out of sync for a half and they still beat the Dallas Cowboys by four touchdowns. That's pretty scary. They are averaging 32 points, most in the league, and they are allowing just 18.8 points a game. Crunch the numbers however you like, the bottom line is the same. The Eagles are the best team in football.

The Chicago Bears limp into town this week with a rookie quarterback (Mitchell Trubisky) and a 3-7 record. The Bears' coaches have done all they can to help Trubisky, calling lots of running plays with Jordan Howard (841 yards, third in the league) but no one has success running against the Eagles so this looks like a long day for the Bears. Their defense keeps them in most games, but they just don't have enough weapons on offense. It will be the same story this week. 

Eagles 28, Bears 12

Andrew Kulp (9-1)
In order to believe this might be a trap game, you would first have to believe one of two things. Either the Eagles are not as good as their record indicates, and a vastly inferior opponent such as the Bears can actually pose a threat. Or the Eagles, as a team, don't possess the correct mindset to focus on the task ahead and are susceptible to going on autopilot for a week.

I'm 100 percent confident the latter isn't true. The immense leadership in the locker room and overwhelming quantity of self-motivated players makes it hard to believe this team would take anybody lightly. That means an upset would require the Bears to have the talent to take advantage of some weakness on the Eagles. I have a hard time seeing that.

Yes, the Bears are better than their 3-7 record would suggest, but unless they can limit the Eagles' offense to fewer than 20 points, I don't see how they score enough points to win. And considering the Bears have only held two opponents under 20 all season, and the Eagles have yet to post fewer than 20, the prospect seems highly unlikely. Trap game, schmap game.

Eagles 30, Bears 10

Corey Seidman (7-3)
The Bears play sneaky good defense but have little else. They barely throw downfield and have zero weapons on the outside. 

This is probably the Eagles’ easiest game left. 

Eagles 35, Bears 6

Where Doug Pederson's aggressiveness as a play caller comes from

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Where Doug Pederson's aggressiveness as a play caller comes from

We’ve always known Doug Pederson is a naturally aggressive play caller.

Pederson is a laid-back guy off the field but as aggressive as any coach in NFL history on the field.

But where does that come from? How did such a chill dude become such a fearless play caller?

Pederson spoke Tuesday morning about how the way he was raised as a kid in Bellingham, Washington, defined his personality as a coach.

“Growing up with my parents, my dad has some military background, he was in the Air Force, and the way he led our household and raised us as kids … I don’t want to say it was strict but it was a rigid household growing up, so I think I got a little bit of that from my dad,” he said during an appearance with Angelo Cataldi and the 94 WIP Morning Show.

“His aggressive nature in the way he coached us and the way we raised us to stand on our own two feet.

“And listen, I was never really touted as a top athlete, quarterback, whatever, whether I was going into college or coming out of college, so for me there was a little bit of built-up underdog mentality. So for me, that’s where a little bit of this stems from.

“I made up my mind two years ago that really going into this opportunity being a head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles or wherever it might be that you only get one chance and one opportunity to do this so I want to make sure I do it right.”

The Eagles led the NFL with 17 fourth-down conversions last season, and in his two years coaching the Eagles they’ve attempted eight more fourth downs than any other team (53 to the Packers’ 45).

And that doesn’t even include the postseason, where the Eagles were 3-for-3 last year on fourth down, including two of the most celebrated conversions in Super Bowl history.

Including the regular season and postseason, the Eagles’ 20 total fourth-down conversions last year are second-most since the NFL began tracking fourth downs in 1991 (the Jaguars had 22 in 2007).

“It’s calculated,” Pederson said. “It’s not on a whim. It’s not just gut feel. For me, it was trusting my players, trusting my coaches. Out here on this grass, out here on this practice field, putting our players in those situations so when I make the decision during a game there’s no hesitation.

“So when you see Nick Foles come to the sideline and suggest 'Philly Philly,' there’s no hesitation. That’s the play. That’s the one we need. That’s the spark that’s going to help us win this football game, and that’s the collaboration process that we talk about a lot.”

And when a fourth-down attempt fails?

You don’t second-guess yourself. You just put it in the hands of the defense and move on.

“You can’t,” he said. “You don’t. You can’t second guess. You can’t go, ‘Oh man, did I make the right decision?' If you do that, yeah, you’re probably going to be a 50-50 type of team.

“Listen, these decisions are not just fly by the seat of my pants. These are calculated. I listen to some of the analytics, some of the numbers we talk about during the week, the different situation and scenarios that pop up in games.

“These are things that we study and these are things that I study during the week so I can prepare not only myself for the call but I can prepare the team for that situation.”

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Doug Pederson believes 2018 Eagles are deeper than Super Bowl team

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Doug Pederson believes 2018 Eagles are deeper than Super Bowl team

The Eagles won a Super Bowl last season. And then they got better.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said Tuesday morning he believes this year’s roster is actually deeper than the one that roared to the franchise's first championship in 57 years.

The Eagles suffered some key losses — Patrick Robinson, LeGarrette Blount, Torrey Smith, Trey Burton, Brent Celek and Mychal Kendricks — but they added guys like Michael Bennett, Mike Wallace and Dallas Goedert along with a huge cast of players who were hurt last year and are expected back healthy.

“I think on paper, if you look at the depth at each position, the depth that we have, it’s definitely the deepest roster in my three years here,” Pederson said Tuesday morning during an appearance with Angelo Cataldi and the 94 WIP Morning Show.

“That’s exciting. It’s real exciting. Because in this league, we’ve got to cut our roster down to 53 in a couple weeks, and the hardest thing is you’re going to have to cut good players and you’re probably going to have cut players that are going to end up on rosters somewhere else.

“But on paper? We’re still missing (injured) Timmy Jernigan, we’re still missing Brandon Graham, we’re still missing those guys, but on paper, it looks like a pretty good solid roster.”

Some other notes from Pederson’s 20-minute interview:

He continues to be vague about the return of wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who hasn’t practiced this summer. He said no decision has been made on whether Jeffery will start the season on PUP or the 53-man roster

“He’s doing extremely well with his rehab, No. 1, and he’s doing everything he can to get himself ready and to get himself healthy. Can’t wait for the day we get him back.”

He said the final decision on whether Carson Wentz will start the opener against the Falcons in 23 days is up to his doctors

“This guy’s a competitor. He attacked it on the football field when he played and he’s also attacked his rehab. This is something you don’t see every single day, a guy this determined to make it back to the football field. He’s done extremely well. … He’s so determined to get himself back on the football field that I think a lot of the other injured guys are following suit.”

On moving on from the Super Bowl

“It’s one of those things where it’s great in the offseason, it was great to be patted on the back for what we accomplished for this city, for these fans, but right now, this world championship is for the fans. Let them enjoy it. We’ve got to focus on our 2018 season, get ready to go. Nothings going to be handed to us, we’re going to have to go get everything each and every week and that’s why these guys are out here busting their tail throughout this training camp.”

On his biggest concern three weeks before the season opener against the Falcons

“For me, just the health of the injured guys. Where are they Week 1? That to me is the biggest question going into the start of the season. I’m not concerned about the quarterbacks, we have two great quarterbacks, we’re comfortable there. And receiver, with the addition of Mike Wallace, that brings some depth to what we’re doing. But just the health of the injured guys. That to me is the biggest question going into the start of the season.”

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