The Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears have each been through a lot. Both the Eagles and Bears are contending with first-year coaches, have survived losing their original starting quarterbacks, and are still fighting for division titles. Yet starting on Dec. 8, Philadelphia and Chicago's fates will truly intertwine, as they will play a big part in each other's playoff chases.
First, the Bears will be rooting hard for the Eagles over the Detroit Lions on Dec. 8. With the Lions at 7-5 and leading the 6-6 Bears in the NFC North, Chicago needs some help to climb back in. Then if Philadelphia knocks off Detroit, it will really need Chicago to return the favor and forge a tie in the North, so it can break the Eagles' tie with the Dallas Cowboys in the East.
With the Bears hosting the Cowboys on Dec. 9, the Eagles need a Chicago victory no matter what. If the Eagles lose to the Lions, they will be more desperate to see the Cowboys lose and not take a one-game lead in the NFC East. Yet if Philadelphia loses, Chicago will be much more desperate, as a loss to Dallas would leave it 6-7 and two games back of a Detroit team that already owns the tiebreaker.
If the Eagles can't beat the Lions, the Bears may well be fighting for their season on Monday night. But either way, Chicago can then get revenge on Philadelphia soon enough. No matter where the Eagles and Bears are in their respective races, they will still face each other in Philadelphia on Dec. 22. Conceivably, both teams could be in first place on that day, or at least both in a tie.
The Eagles are technically in second place, as they too are behind in a tiebreaker to their biggest competitor, just like the Bears are. Because Philadelphia and Chicago couldn't take care of business over Dallas and Detroit, their margin for error is very slim. As such, the Eagles and Bears can either help each other make it bigger, or erase it altogether.
For now, the Bears will be the Eagles biggest fan when the Lions visit Philadelphia at 1 p.m. est. About 31 hours later, it will Philadelphia's turn to pull for Chicago, before it becomes the next NFC East team in desperate need to beat the Bears.