An NFC North matchup headlines the early slate Sunday featuring huge playoff implications for both sides. The Vikings lead the all time series 60-53-2, but the Bears won the previous matchup this season 25-20.
The Bears hung on to beat the 49ers 14-9 on Sunday. In week 14, they beat the Rams 15-6, and in week 15 they beat the Packers 24-17.
The Vikings beat the Lions 27-9 on Sunday. In week 14, they lost 21-7 to the Seahawks, and in week 15 they beat the Dolphins 41-17.
GTBets has the Vikings as 6 point favourites with an O/U total of 41.
(11-4 overall, 4-3 on the road)
The Bears offense has not been as productive as it was earlier this season, and Mitchell Trubisky has slown down as well. Trubisky has thrown for 2814 yards, 23 TDs, and 12 INTs while completing 64.9% of his passes and averaging 7.4 YPA. Tarik Cohen leads the team in receptions with 69, which have gone for 717 yards and 5 TDs, while Taylor Gabriel (63/627/2), Allen Robinson (55/754/4) and Trey Burton (49/536/6) have been productive as well. Jordan Howard leads the team in rushing with 826 yards and 7 TDs on 229 carries, while Tarik Cohen (94/420/2) and Mitchell Trubisky (65/405/3) contribute heavily as well.
The Bears scoring defense ranks 3rd allowing 18.2 PPG. Their passing defense ranks top 10, allowing 227.6 yards per game and 21 TDs through the air while their pass rush ranks top 5 with 46 sacks. Their run defense ranks 2nd allowing 81.1 yards per game and 5 TDs on the ground.
(8-6-1 overall, 5-2 at home)
The Vikings offense is trending upward over the past couple weeks with a new playcaller at the helm and the emergence of Dalvin Cook. Kirk Cousins continues to be great, throwing for 4166 yards, 29 TDs and 10 INTs while completing 70.7% of his passes and averaging 7.3 YPA. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs have been a special duo this season. Thielen has 110 catches for 1335 yards and 9 TDs while Stefon Diggs has 94 catches for 974 yards and 8 TDs. Kyle Rudolph contributes heavily as well with 60 catches for 615 yards and 4 TDs. Dalvin Cook has taken off the past few weeks, and has now rushed for 576 yards and 2 TDs on 122 carries. Latavius Murray contributes as well with 138 carries for 560 yards and 6 TDs.
The Vikings scoring defense ranks 8th allowing 21.1 PPG. Their passing defense ranks top 3, allowing 193.7 YPG and 15 TDs through the air while their pass rush ranks 1st with 50 sacks. Their run defense ranks just outside the top 10, allowing 109.7 YPG and 10 TDs on the ground.
The Bears offense has not been playing great recently, and the Vikings slowed them down well the last time they played. The Vikings defense is also playing much better as of late, and look much more like their dominant 2017 form. Up front, there isn’t a clear mismatch but the Vikings have a great defensive front capable of creating plenty of pressure. In the backend, there isn’t really a matchup to feel great about if you are the Bears either, aside from maybe heavy utilization of Tarik Cohen as a receiver out of the backfield. Matt Nagy is very creative, and will scheme guys open but if this turns into a drop back passing game it may go south quickly.
The Vikings offense was also stagnant the last time they played the Bears, but the Bears are a vastly different team at home. While Minnesota isn’t going to put up huge numbers, the return of their run game and more creativity on offense will alleviate pressure from the shoulders of Kirk Cousins enough to move the ball consistently against a tough Bears defense. The Vikings are playing for much more than the Bears, and they are going to make a statement here.
Final Pick: Vikings (-6)