After losing to the winless Detroit Lions in Week 13, the Minnesota Vikings bounced back by beating the Pittsburgh Steelers last Thursday to keep their playoff hopes alive. This week they’ll head to the Windy City to take on Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears.
At 4-9, the Bears are focused on next season, but a win for the Vikings would improve their record to 7-7 to remain firmly in the playoff conversation. The NFL odds currently have the Vikings as -3.5 road favorites, so let’s look at a couple of the best Monday Night Football bets.
Vikings (-4.5) at Bears
Kirk Cousins is quietly having a tremendous season at quarterback. He’s rarely talked about in the same breath as players like Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, and Josh Allen, but this year has more passing yards than both Rodgers and Allen (3,569), the same amount of TD passes as Mahomes and Rodgers (27), and less than half of the picks that Mahomes has thrown (five).
Chicago rookie QB Justin Fields is still learning the ropes after starting the season on the bench. The Bears have lost seven of their last eight, with their only win coming against the Lions. Protecting the quarterback is one of the most significant offensive issues the Bears have. They’ve allowed a sack on 9.86% of their dropbacks, which leads the NFL.
The Bears have done a good job with their running game, averaging 126 yards per game, but they have issues with scoring. They average 17.8 points per game.
Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook is coming off his best game of the season (205 rushing yards), and with their impressive air attack, the Vikings should have a two-prong approach that will overwhelm the Bears. This season, the Bears have struggled against the run (120 yards allowed per game). I believe this will be the difference in this game. I’m taking the Vikings to win outright and cover the 3.5 points.
I expect this game to play out similar to last week’s NFC North game between the Bears and the Green Bay Packers, where the Pack won 45-30. Overall, Minnesota has been a better offensive team than the Packers this year (third in total yards, 11th in points scored).
The Vikings have averaged over 30 points in their last six games, and I don’t expect much deviation against a Bears team that has given up 25.5 points per game on the year.
On the other hand, the Vikings’ defense has struggled this year. They allow an average of 25.6 points per game, 129.5 rushing yards per game, and 251.9 passing yards per game. So even though the Bears have struggled, I believe they can score at least 17 against a Vikings’ defense that’s in the bottom ten statistically in these defensive metrics.
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