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September 19, 2016

There is one recommended wager tonight.

Take Chicago Bears -3 spread against Philadelphia Eagles for 3% of the bankroll.

Apparently, one game is all it takes. The armchair coach in front of every TV set as well as the mainstream media absolutely loves quarterbacks and hypes up a good performance to no end. That is what's happened with Carson Wentz over the last week. After one game against the poor Cleveland Browns, the wild hype train has him tagged as the next elite QB and comparisons are already being drawn with some of the best to have ever played the game! We're not down on Mr. Wentz, we're fans in fact. We just believe, this is all way too premature and as usual the betting public and casual fan are over-reacting to Week 1 results. Keep in mind that TE Zach Ertz has been ruled out for this contest and takes away a good receiving option for this Philadelphia offense.

Let's look at the facts. While the Eagles did blow out their opponents on the opening Sunday of the season, that came at home. Not only that, it was against arguably the worst team in NFL in an easy winnable game. The Bears are hardly a powerhouse but they will pose a different set of challenges. For one thing, it's not the friendly confines of Lincoln Financial Field for Carson Wentz and company tonight but hostile territoty in Soldier Field in this matchup. For a rookie QB who's making his first ever road start in NFL, he can be forgiven if he's not at this best. Unfortunately for him, the task gets even taller when you consider that his is a nationally televised game under the bright lights of Monday Night Football. The pressure of playing an MNF game is much higher than the average Sunday afternoon game when there are other simultaneous games. And now with all eyes on Carson Wentz and the Eagles, and people expecting to see a good performance, it makes matters more difficult.

For all the criticism he gets, Jay Cutler is not a bad quarterback. He's certainly much more experienced and polished at this time than the young Eagles QB, who has a lot to learn at this level. If the Bears O-line can protect Cutler better than they did in the opener, we believe Cutler will link up with Alshon Jeffery and his other receivers well enough to win this game. Those watching the game will also want to keep an eye on Kevin White, a highly rated prospect that missed last season due to injury but could potentially have a breakout season this year! Given that JJ Watt and company put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks than most other defenses, especially in Houston, it wasn't too surprising to see them sack and hurry Cutler frequently in Week 1. Chicago's offensive line is still a question mark but they have a slightly easier matchup against Philadelphia's pass rush and should be able to buy their QB a little more time. If they can keep Fletcher Cox in check, they will give themselves a good chance to carve up an Eagles secondary that'll be missing CB Leodis McKelvin.

John Fox is now in his second season in charge of the Bears and has done his best work as a coach in the sophomore season with his previous employers. By now he's had time to stamp his authority on the player personnel as well as playing style, something that Doug Pederson of Philadelphia hasn't had much time to do. Pederson may be the long-term answer for this franchise but in what is only his first season in charge and only second week of the season, expectations need to be low, something that their first week performance hasn't allowed. Some are now seeing the Eagles as a playoff team after their blowout 'W' in Week 1 but we disagree. This is a team very much in rebuilding mode and while the future may be bright, the present has its fair share of issues. Neither of these two teams is much to get excited about in our opinion but with all the hype surrounding Carson Wentz, we believe it'll be Chicago that plays spoiler and gets its first win of the season. Look for both teams to sport 1-1 records after this contest as we don't see Eagles starting 2-0 while Bears lose their first two games. Chicago is likely to win this game and if that's the case, only two numbers don't work for us. A win by a field goal gives us a push while anything better including a 4-point victory, which is likely in our opinion, sees the Bears cover the spread and cash in tickets.

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