The Chicago Bears (8-6) and Philadelphia Eagles (8-6) cap off a full schedule in Week 16 on Sunday Night Football. The game will be played at playoff intensity, as both teams desperately need to win in order to stay ahead of the competition for their respective divisions.
Chicago has won two straight heading into the contest—impressively demolishing the Dallas Cowboys 45-28 at home in Week 14 and putting together an outstanding second half on the road in Cleveland in Week 15 to win 38-31.
Green Bay (7-6-1) and Detroit (7-7) are nipping at Chicago's heels, and both teams are hosting teams with losing records this weekend.
The Eagles need to rebound quickly after getting hammered by the Minnesota Vikings in Week 15. Matt Cassel, Matt Asiata and the rest of Minnesota's offense scored six touchdowns, winning 48-30 at home.
Philadelphia could potentially win the NFC East with a win, provided Dallas (7-7) loses to Washington on Dec. 22. If both teams win, or if the Eagles lose and the Cowboys win, the Eagles will head to Dallas for a final showdown in Week 17 to decide the division.
Needless to say, both teams will be much more comfortable heading into the NFL's final regular-season weekend with a win in Week 16.
Here's a look at when and where you can catch the game, along with injury reports for both teams, betting lines and a closer examination of the biggest key to victory.
When: Sunday, Dec. 22, at 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: Lincoln Financial Field
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Betting Lines (via Covers)
- Over/Under: 55.5 points
- Spread: Philadelphia (-3)
Injury Reports (via ChicagoBears.com)
Which Team's Weakness Will Be Strongest?
It's going to be interesting to see if either team can stop the opposing offense from having a field day, as alluded to by NBC's Chris Collinsworth:
Eagles Bears game has more explosive play potential than any game we have done this year on both offense and defense.— Cris Collinsworth (@CollinsworthNBC) December 18, 2013
Philadelphia features the league's top-ranked rushing attack offensively, which should demolish Chicago's league-worst run defense.
The Bears come into the game with the NFL's fifth-best passing attack, which should shred the Eagles secondary, which is responsible for the second-worst passing defense in the league.
Here's a great look at what both teams bring to the table, courtesy of Bears Insider:
Bears vs. Eagles head to head stats comparison: pic.twitter.com/Tg7V2qEsOv— Bears Insider (@bears_insider) December 18, 2013
One thing's for sure: Nobody should expect a defensive brawl.
The team that does the best job shoring up these areas of weakness will win the game.
After Chicago held the Cleveland Browns to just 93 yards on the ground in Week 15, head coach Marc Trestman talked about his team's positive move in the right direction. However, he also noted the team's obvious challenge against the Eagles, as reported by Larry Mayer of ChicagoBears.com:
It's good that we're ascending. Certainly we've got to play better this week. We're playing against a very explosive team that stretches the field both horizontally and vertically, in the running game as well as the passing game. This is really going to test our defense this week, no doubt about it.
Both defenses will need to be better than average to avoid getting embarrassed.
Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field wasn't exactly home, sweet home for the Eagles in the first part of the season, as Don Banks of SI.com points out, while predicting Philly will win a close one:
Suddenly The Linc is an advantage for the Eagles, who have won their past three home games after the misery of that 10-game home losing streak. The Eagles have already beaten Green Bay and Detroit in the NFC North, but Minnesota gave them fits last week. They'll be a couple plays better than the Bears...
It's hard to argue with his analysis.
Who you got?
Look for LeSean McCoy to have another huge game at home. The last time he played in front of the Eagles' faithful, he wowed the crowd with 217 yards rushing and two touchdowns in blizzard conditions.
Chicago isn't a great road team, at 3-4, and the Eagles will take advantage of this fact to win their fourth straight game at home and improve to 9-6 on the season.
Eagles win, 38-31.
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