Philadelphia Eagles begin their NFL playoff run as underdogs again

Philadelphia Eagles' Nick Foles speaks with members of the media during a news conference at the team's NFL football training facility in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

Philadelphia Eagles' Nick Foles speaks with members of the media during a news conference at the team's NFL football training facility in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

Break out the German shepherd masks: The Philadelphia Eagles are in Chicago Sunday to play the Bears at Soldier Field with the betting line showing them a 6 point underdog or more.

Unlike last year, when the Eagles won the title playing each game with home field advantage, this time they will have to reach the Super Bowl by winning on the road. In fact, the Eagles are the lowest seeded NFC team left in the tournament.

In 2018, the underdog role they adopted was about respect. This year, it’s about overcoming injuries with a battered and bruised Nick Foles, a makeshift secondary and a running game that has been inconsistent throughout the season. Head coach Doug Peterson has playoff experience on his side against a team that was easily one of the biggest surprises in the NFL this season winning the NFC North.

Still, Sunday’s game will be about how well the defense can rise up and stop the third seed in the tournament, their young emerging quarterback Mitchell Trabisky, and a very talented running game.

Should the Eagles win, the road to the big game doesn’t get any easier. With the Seattle Seahawks losing to Dallas Saturday night, the Eagles would travel to New Orleans next Sunday to play the Saints at the Louisiana Superdome. But first they have to find a way to capture that playoff magic that carried them to a title next year.

Illinois Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf have made a friendly wager over the game.

Pritzker says he made the bet because “Here in Illinois, we all know” the Bears will win the wild-card game at Soldier Field.

If Chicago defeats the defending Super Bowl champions, Wolf says he’ll send cheesesteaks with cheese and fried onions from Tony Luke’s in South Philadelphia.

If the Eagles win, Pritzker will send Eli’s Cheesecake from Chicago.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.