Chicago Bears @ Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday November 26th, 18:00 GMT
TV - Live on Sky Sports Main Event
It's the 9-1 Eagles at home to the 3-7 Bears. A total mismatch if ever there was one. And the market makers know it, having established a 13.5 point handicap. It's one of the biggest spreads you'll see this season. But have they gone far enough?
Philadelphia after all have won their last three games by an average margin of 26 points. Let's be clear, they have been stomping on heads. And no ordinary heads either. Last week it was Dallas they humbled. And the week before that they humiliated Denver, putting 51 points past a defense that until then had been leading the league.
The real question here is not whether Chicago have a chance of winning but how close can they keep it? And Chicago have actually done well this season at losing in respectable fashion - their average margin of loss is eight points. But the reality is, the Bears have faced nobody of the ilk of Philadelphia to date.
Super Bowl bound?
Carson Wentz is orchestrating the offense beautifully under centre - and even when he doesn't personally put up big yardage, the Eagles still put up points. Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffrey are finding space out wide, as Wentz gets great protection from the O-Line. Zach Ertz is one of the least likely touchdown machines in the NFL, yet there he is with six from the position of tight end. The fact Ertz is on track to more than double his previous best number of TDs in a season tells you that Philly are flying on offense this year.
The addition of Jay Ajayi may prove to be one of the best mid-season signings in recent memory. LeGarrette Blount was probably doing better than he was given credit for in an Eagles jersey, getting good yards after contact, but not putting up big numbers. Ajayi's arrival has helped immensely though, and together the two of them offer one of the best dual running threats in the NFL.
The Bears defense won't contain Philly's arsenal of offensive artillery. But they will hope to inflict some damage themselves through their own heavy weapon - Jordan Howard. Now Howard is a player I love - a big, rumbling running back - like a boulder on wheels, but with a few moves to boot. But the match-up simply isn't great for him this week. Philadelphia have been tough on the run and look well-equipped to keep Howard more contained than most.
The other problem for Howard is that if the Bears fall well behind, he could disappear from their game plan altogether. In this scenario, they'd look instead to Mitchell Trubisky, a rookie QB who let's not forget has only played six NFL career games, to save them. Now Trubisky has shown promise, but he faces a tall order here against a Philadelphia defense that's been getting better each week. And with no big name receivers to help him out, Trubisky could find this really tough going and I can foresee turnovers, plural.
Garbage time is always a danger in games like this. Will Philly ease off late on and allow the Bears to close the gap? If they do, I envisage Dontrelle Inman being the main beneficiary. Inman was another clever mid-season signing and a receiver who showed a knack for landing the deep ball during his time with the Chargers. He could be the king of garbage time.
Philadelphia are my pick for the Super Bowl. They are playing like champions and they can light up the Bears here. I can also see the points total getting close to 50.
5pts Philadelphia (-13.5) to beat Chicago @ 2.0421/20
4pts Philadelphia (-7) to win at half time @ 5/6
3pts Total Points Over 44 @ 2.0421/20
1pt Zach Ertz to score 1st touchdown @ 7/1 or better