Three questions as Bears near playoff kick

 

When playoff football makes its first appearance in Chicago since January of 2011, here are three questions to ponder before the Bears host the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.
1. Has Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy learned from his questionable play-calling in last season’s playoff loss when he was Kansas City’s offensive coordinator?  Nagy has pressed all the right buttons with the Bears, but the one and done pressure of the NFL’s second season places a premium on play calling. In a contest  that figures to be tight between two familiar head coaches and friends in Nagy and Eagles coach Doug Pederson, can Nagy balance creativity without being reckless with the football?

2. Can Chicago’s offensive line control Philadelphia’s attacking defensive front? The Eagles boast veteran pass rushers Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, and Michael Bennett along with run stuffer Haloti Ngata. The Bears offensive line has performed well down the stretch and faced elite rushers in the Rams’ Aaron Donald and the Vikings Danielle Hunter, but are susceptible in getting beat on the outside.
In the interior can Bears guards James Daniels and Kyle Long, along with Center Cody Whitehair, handle Cox and Tim Jernigan, allowing Jordan Howard to get through the first level?
3. How healthy are the Bears? Safety Eddie Jackson is a game time decision, while receivers Alan Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, and Anthony Miller will play despite nagging bumps and bruises. Chicago has benefitted from being relatively injury-free during the regular season. Will the good fortune extend into the postseason?
Bears Den: The Bears are 17-18 all-time in playoff games…OLB Aaron Lynch is doubtful and not expected to play….TE Trey Burton was a late add to the injury list (groin) and is listed as questionable…. BEARS won NFC North, 1st division title since 2010… CHICAGO led NFL in scoring defense (17.7 points allowed per game), takeaways (36) & INTs (27) & ranked 3rd in turnover differential (+12) in 2018…BEARS have won 9 of their past 10 games & were 7-1 at home this season…Eagles have won the past three contests and lead the all-time playoff series 2-1, with the most recent postseason meeting a Philadelphia 33-19 victory at Soldier Field in January of 2002.

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