Minnesota Vikings (6-7, 7-6 ATS), at Chicago Bears (4-9, 4-9 ATS)
FanDuel Line: Vikings -5.5 (44)
The skinny: If Minnesota is going to be a factor in the NFC playoff race, it will need to beat the Bears on Sunday and in Week 18 considering its other games are against the hard-charging Rams and Packers.
Facts: As if it hasn’t been bad enough for the Bears, who have lost seven of their past eight games, their three coordinators were placed on the COVID list this week and might not be available on Monday night..
Included in the Bears’ “might not play” group are both offensive tackles — Jason Peters (questionable, ankle) and Larry Borom (COVID).
Last Thursday night, the Vikings beat Pittsburgh 36-28 despite QB Kirk Cousins completing only 45.2% of his passes. All other teams this season are 3-22 when their QB throws 10-plus times and doesn’t complete at least half of them.
Minnesota got a mega boost before that game when RB Dalvin Cook was declared good to go after having limited participation in practice with a shoulder injury. He rushed 27 times for 205 yards, the most for anyone this year.
Minnesota WR Justin Jefferson, who had a pair of 100-plus-yard receiving games vs. Chicago last year, has averaged 131 yards in his past five outings.
Analysis: Is this going to be a repeat of a Week 3 game when Chicago had 47 yards of total offense and rookie QB Justin Fields, who has the league’s highest sack rate, got dragged down nine times in a 26-6 loss in Cleveland?
He’ll be going against a Vikings defense that leads the league in sacks. and as mentioned, could be taking advantage of an offensive line with backup tackles. And if Chicago’s top two RBs, David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert, don’t recover from the non-COVID illnesses they had this week, yikes! But at least they’ve got all weekend to improve.
One more thing: Over the past two weeks, the QBs with the highest passer ratings have been guys who faced the Bears — Aaron Rodgers last week and Arizona’s Kyler Murray the week before. Not to mention’s Matthew Stafford’s rating of 156.1 in Week 1 vs. Chicago, the best by anyone this year.
Vikings at Bears Pick
Vikings 31, Bears 7
Last week: 6-8 ATS, 10-4 SU
Season total: 97-108-3 (.473) ATS, 126-81-1 (.609) SU