Breaking Down the Chicago Bears' Potential Playoff Opponents - NBC Chicago
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Breaking Down the Chicago Bears' Potential Playoff Opponents

The Bears could face the Eagles, Seahawks, or Vikings in the first round

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Under the Tucson Sun
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    Roy Robertson-Harris #95 and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky #10 of the Chicago Bears celebrate after defeating the Los Angeles Rams 15-6 at Soldier Field on December 9, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.

    As the final weekend of the NFL season gets underway, there are still three teams that the Chicago Bears could potentially face in the first round of the postseason.

    By virtue of their division title, the Bears are guaranteed to host that game, and although there is still a chance that they could lock up a first round playoff bye, it’s far more likely that they will be at Soldier Field next weekend for the NFL’s Wild Card Round.

    The question that’s being asked at every sports bar and every social media forum is a simple one: who should the Bears be hoping to face when they do step on the playoff stage? To answer, here are some quick facts and stats about each of the three potential opponents the Bears could face.

    Minnesota Vikings

    Why They’re a Threat:

    Playing a divisional opponent in the playoffs is always a tricky thing, as unveiling hidden wrinkles in your offense or sneaking in different defensive coverage schemes is tough in a third matchup, and recent history bears out that it could be a tough road for the Bears if they have to face Minnesota.

    Since the NFL switched to its current playoff format in 2003, divisional foes have met in the first round of the playoffs on nine occasions, with the home team winning five of those games.

    Key Stat:

    The Vikings are only averaging 55.3 rushing yards per game when they play on grass. Add to that the fact they’ve only had two 100-yard rushers on the season, and it would appear that they are in for a very pass-heavy approach to a game against the Bears.

    In an interesting twist, Kirk Cousins has been averaging 219 yards per game through the air over the last four weeks, and although he does have Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs to throw to, he could have a tough time navigating the swirling winds and cold temperatures of Soldier Field.

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    Philadelphia Eagles

    Why They’re a Threat:

    The Eagles may only have an 8-7 record, but having Nick Foles under center seems to spark the team. Over the last two seasons, Foles has excelled after Carson Wentz has gone down due to injury, throwing for 2,022 yards, 15 touchdowns, and just four interceptions in seven games (including playoffs).

    The only loss the Eagles have that Foles has started in that stretch came in a meaningless Week 17 matchup against the Cowboys, where Foles only attempted 11 throws in a 6-0 loss at Lincoln Financial Field.

    Key Stat:

    The Bears are one of the top-10 defenses in the NFL, and this season the Eagles have struggled when they’ve gone up against tough competition on the other side of the ball.

    In five games against top-10 defenses (Minnesota, Jacksonville, Dallas, and Tennessee), the Eagles have gone 1-4, scoring a total of 12 touchdowns, turning the ball over seven times, and registering an average of 373.6 yards per game, which is roughly in line with their season average of 365.7 yards per game.

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    Seattle Seahawks

    Why They’re a Threat:

    This Seahawks team is not the same one that the Bears played earlier this season. They’ve won five of their last six games, with their lone loss coming in overtime against the 49ers. Their run game has come to life, with Chris Carson averaging 88.7 yards per game on the ground in those contests.

    In addition to their improving run game, the Seahawks have a proven playoff performer in quarterback Russell Wilson, who has thrown 20 touchdowns and averaged 231.4 yards per game through the air in his postseason career. He has also rushed for 354 more yards and two touchdowns in his playoff history.

    Key Stat:

    The Seahawks have made their name over the years with their defense, but in the second half, they’ve surprisingly struggled at forcing turnovers through the air, registering just two interceptions in their last seven games.

    Their main success has come when they’re going for tackles, as they’ve forced 11 fumbles in those games. The Bears’ receivers and running backs will have to emphasize ball security in a big way if they have to face the Seahawks in round one, and after Allen Robinson’s fumble against the 49ers in Week 16, that will surely be on top of their minds if Seattle rolls through Soldier Field.

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