It’s all about getting hot and being hot at the right time in the NFL playoffs and the Eagles will enter the playoffs on an absolute roll with wins over two division winners and a 24-0 smackdown of the Redskins in Week 17.
The offense has been revitalized since Nick Foles took over three weeks ago as they’ve averaged 27.66 points and 420 yards per game during the three-game win streak.
This is a far cry from Weeks 1-14 when they averaged 21.62 points and 352.7 yards per game.
The defense has also seen improvement during the three-game stretch, allowing just 4.8 yards per play to rate fifth-best in the NFL during that span.
Over the course of the season, they’ve been excellent at limiting opponents to field-goal attempts while in the end zone, as they have a league-best 44.64 percent opponents’ red-zone TD scoring percentage. They’ve also allowed just two passing touchdowns over their last three games.
The balanced attack, which also includes a league-best time of possession over the last three weeks, makes the defending champs an excellent sleeper candidate to go back to back and although I don’t think they’ll win this game, I can’t fault anyone for taking a risk on them at +3500 to go all the way.
Speaking of peaking at the right time, the Bears have been peaking since late October and are 7-1 SU and ATS at home.
They finished out the regular season at 12-4 SU and ATS and have covered the spread in nine of their last 10 games. They allowed the fewest points per game during the regular season and were a serious problem for opposing offenses, ranking first in interceptions and third in sacks.
Specific to playing at home, they rank first overall in net yards per play at home and six of their seven wins at Soldier Field were by seven points or more. The benefit of being in Chicago should give second-year QB Mitch Trubisky a nice boost as his QB rating is 14.5 points higher in his career at home.
It is worth noting, however, that Trubisky had one of the worst starts of his young career vs the Eagles last season when he posted a stat line of zero touchdowns and two interceptions with a 51.52 completion percentage, leading the Bears to just three points.
He did take some steps forward this season, but it can’t be denied that his play can be quite erratic at times. If he can protect the ball and control the nerves of playing in his first playoff game, the Bears’ run of wins and covering the spread will continue.