Philadelphia Eagles vs. Chicago Bears
Date and Time: Monday, September 19, 2016, 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
Week 2 NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Bears -3, O/U 43
Eagles vs. Bears TV Coverage: ESPN
Things couldn’t have gone much better Wentz during his first start. The rookie had the benefit of playing against one of the worst defenses in the league last season and the Browns definitely looked the part again. But the biggest thing for Wentz is that there isn’t an awful lot of outside pressure on him. He wasn’t the No. 1 overall pick so there isn’t any exterior influence on that angle. Also, the Eagles are a team in transition and the expectations have been tempered a bit. So, unlike Jared Goff, Wentz is at ease to do what he does best, and that’s throw a football.
John Fox said the first few weeks of the regular season will be an extension of the preseason as his team tries to get a handle on all the changes. The defense is thin below the players at the top of the depth chart and the offense is trying to work behind a patched up line, a new group of ball carriers and talented receivers that have spent more time on the injured reserve list than on the playing field.
The opener was a mixed bag. The offensive line caved in the second half allowing three fourth quarter sacks and the unit was held off the scoreboard in a 23-14 loss. Things should be better against an Eagles team not as stacked on the front seven as Houston, and with an additional week of prep time.
Matchup To Watch
Offensive line play and the offense in general is still a work in progress for the Bears. The unit is only as good as the line and Chicago’s wasn’t very good on Sunday. The loss of starting center Hroniss Grasu to a knee injury in the preseason got things spinning. Guard Kyle Long is less than 100 percent as he continues work through a shoulder injury and the club integrated Josh Sitton into the starting lineup a week after signing him.
All five players up front must work together and communicate to operate efficiently. Building that cohesion can take months and the Bears were expected to be ready in a week. It didn’t happen. Rookie Cody Whitehair played the entire preseason at left guard until the signing of Sitton precipitated his move to center.
With Whitehair making his first start, Sitton inserted at left guard a week after joining the club and Long playing with a torn labrum, the unit expected to have some problems against Houston’s menacing front. Jay Cutler was sacked five times and the offense only managed 258 total yards. The game took a turn in the first quarter when the Bears botched a center-quarterback exchange on a fourth down in Houston territory. Chicago had a 7-0 lead at the time and the outcome could have been much different had that play succeeded.
Eagles vs. Bears Free Picks
Both teams got a pass on the opener with the Eagles taking care of the pathetic Browns, and the Bears holding their own for most of the game in Houston. As a result the Bears get the standard field goal at home opening at -3. Chicago will continue to tinker with its lineup as the season progresses and should land in a comfortable spot after a few weeks. The O-line was beaten for five sacks, but part of the blame landed on Cutler, who has yet to build confidence in Kevin White.
With another week together and not having to face the Texans, Chicago should put up better offensive numbers and more points. On the flip side, Wentz won’t have it so easy this time around. The Bears aren’t the Monsters of the Midway, but they are better than Cleveland and the Eagles will taste defeat for the first time, including the preseason, under new coach Doug Pederson. I predict the Bears to have a coming out party at Philly’s expense and cover the odds at BookMaker.eu.
Eagles vs. Bears Week 2 ATS Pick: Bears -3 at BookMaker.eu
Eagles vs. Bears Score Prediction: Bears 27, Eagles 20