#315 Chicago Bearsvs.#316 Minnesota Vikings
Written by Chuck D
Chicago Bears 3-12 (7-8 ATS) at Minnesota Vikings 7-8 (8-7 ATS)
When and Where: Sunday, Jan. 1, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minn. 1:00pm EST (FOX)
Spread: Minnesota -5.5; Total: 41
Two disappointing seasons come to an end Sunday in the City of Lakes. The Bears head to Minneapolis losers of six of their last seven, while the Vikings enter the contest having lost four of five. That streak is all the more disappointing when you consider the fact that Minnesota was the last unbeaten football When the squads met earlier this year in Chicago, it was the Bears that came out on top 20-10, which is one of their just three wins on the season.
If Chicago manages to pull off a victory on Sunday it will be the first time they have managed to do so away from home all season. They were close a couple of weeks ago in Detroit, but ultimately fell 20-17. All three victories this season have come in the Windy City but the good news is that one of those wins came against this Minnesota squad.
In Sunday’s 41-21 loss to Washington, the team was never really in the contest. The Bears surrendered the first 17 points of the contest and could never close the gap en route to the 20-point defeat. One bright spot was rooking half back Jordan Howard, who continues to impress. The Indiana alum ran for 118 yards vs. the ‘Skins and now has 1,178 yards on the year, along with six touchdowns. On the day the team amassed 458 yards of offense but allowed 478. Matt Barkley was intercepted five times. The loss was the team’s eighth straight to Washington.
Minnesota was the talk of the town when the season began the squad raced out to a 5-0 start. They went into the bye week with a perfect record and came out of it by dropping their next four games. They snapped the skid with a home win vs. the Cardinals but went on to lose four of their next five with the lone win coming against the lowly Jaguars. The latest defeat came at the hands of the Packers on Sunday, 38-25 in Green Bay.
The team fell behind 14-3 after a quarter of play and by halftime had already allowed the Pack to drop 28 points on them. It was the team’s eighth loss in the last ten games and officially eliminated them from playoff contention, although it has been known for a while now that their hopes for a postseason appearance were slim to none. Sam Bradford threw for 382 yards and three touchdowns, but it was not enough. Adam Thielen was the recipient of 202 of those yards and had 12 receptions on the day to go along with two scores. The team outgained Green Bay 446 to 348 but had trouble slowing Jordy Nelson who had two touchdowns and 154 yards receiving.
Look, the Bears are bad . . . that much is clear. I am just not sure that the way the Vikings have been playing that they should be a 5.5 point favorite over anybody, much less a division rival that already beat them by 10 points this season. Four of Chicago’s last five losses have come by single digits, and many of those to teams that are better than Minnesota.
Neither of these teams have exactly been lighting scoreboards up this season. While both teams had big yardage days a week ago, it did not translate to a lot of points. The NFC North is known as the Black and Blue division for a reason and this game should be another defensive slug fest that the division is known for. They only combined for 30 points the first time they played and the under is 5-1 in the last six meetings between the two teams. It is also 4-1 the last five times they have played in Minnesota.
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Chuck Dowling is a 30-something University of Florida J-School alum that lives in his mother’s basement. Just kidding... there are no basements in Florida (the ground is too moist). He has been in the “biz” for his entire adult life and specializes in NCAA football and basketball, as well as soccer, boxing, and MMA. When not writing, Chuck moonlights as a high school athletics radio and internet-television broadcaster.