Monday Night Football will feature an NFC North showdown when the Vikings travel to the Windy City to take on the Bears. Let’s analyze this exciting matchup and keep cashing our NFL picks!
Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears
Monday, December 20, 2021 – 8:15 PM EST at Soldier Field
Short of a monumental Green Bay collapse and Minny running the table, the NFC North title will go to the Packers but the Vikings are still in the playoff hunt with three wild card spots available. Despite their 6-7 straight-up mark, Minnesota is a better team than their record suggests but losing stylishly doesn’t get your ticket punched to the postseason. It’s all about the W’s and the Vikings need them desperately if they are to enjoy a second season next month.
In their last outing, the Vikings nearly let a 29-0 lead evaporate before they woke up in the second half and remembered the game wasn’t quite over. When the smoke cleared, the Vikings copped a 36-28 victory over the Steelers and Kirk Cousins was hardly prolific in connecting on just 14-of-31 passes for 216 yards with two touchdowns and a pair of picks.
However, Dalvin Cook was a monster, piling up a whopping 205 rushing yards on 27 carries including two trips into the end zone. The Minnesota defense sacked Roethlisberger on five occasions and Bashaud Breeland had the team’s only interception.
Minnesota is ranked 7th in passing and 10th in rushing yards and is No. 3 in total yards, yet, they are 11th in points scored. Obviously, closing the deal in the red zone is not their strong suit. But defensively is where they have had severe lapses as evidenced by their 25th ranking against the pass and 27th ranked run-stop unit. They are 25th in points surrendered, allowing an average of 25.6 points per game.
Bears Freefall Continues
Chicago has lost seven of their last eight but their schedule has not been kind. If we consider their opponents during that time, there might be a bit of sympathy for this 4-9 Chicago edition. The Packers, Bucs, 49ers, Steelers, Ravens, Cardinals, and Packers again, have all feasted on the Bears, with a win over the hapless Lions sandwiched in between.
Last week looked like it was going to be different as the Bears took a six-point lead into the half but the Packers would not be denied as they claimed a 45-30 victory and held Chicago to only a field goal in the second half. Justin Fields was only 18-of-33 with 224 passing yards, two touchdowns, a lost fumble, and a pair of interceptions.
However, he was the Bears’ leading rusher with 74 yards on the ground on nine carries. “It’s a tale of two halves,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said. “For us to be able to come out that first two quarters and do what we did, that was fun, that’s good football.”
Wanna Make a Bet?
The Vikings have had 10 days to prepare for this matchup while Chicago’s Justin Fields sustained bruised ribs and offensive tackle, Jason Peters, was knocked out of the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury. Fields is questionable while Peters is doubtful and Akiem Hicks on the defensive side of the ball missed his fourth straight game and will likely be absent this one as well.
Defensive tackle Eddie Goldman is out on the COVID-19 list as is cornerback Artie Burns. And this just in, starting right tackle, Larry Borom, has also been placed on the COVID-19 list. The Bears have injuries all over the field and to think that Justin Fields might not be right even if he does play makes betting the Vikings even easier.
Kirk Cousins should be able to pick this defense apart and the NFL odds, as of this writing, show the visitors as 4 ½ point favorites. Even though Minnesota seems to play every team tight, regardless of talent, I am taking a flier on them putting the Bears out of their misery, and taking a step towards the postseason with a game they desperately need.
NFL Pick: Vikings -5 ½ (-110) with BetMGM