At 11-4, the Bears come into this rivalry game with a chance to wrestle away the number 2 seed away from the Los Angeles Rams. That’s plenty of incentive to play hard and maybe eliminate hated rival Minnesota in the process. The Bears have won 8 of its last 9 games due in large part to having the 4th best defense in the league at 308.7 YPG. On offense, they just keep grinding away until opponent defenses tire. They strike late and use the defense to hold everyone at bay. On 8 occasions, that defense has help opponents to 17 or fewer points. The offense ranks 23rd in the league (356.9 YPG) with QB Mitchell Trubisky leading the way. He has thrown for just over 3,000 yards while hitting on 24 TDs versus 12 INTs.
With a win, the Vikings take the last Wild-Card spot in the NFC. With a loss, they would need and Eagles’ loss versus Washington to get in. The Vikings have been very inconsistent on the year, rarely looking like the explosive team that played in the NFC championship game last year. In the last two game against Miami and Detroit, the offense behind QB Kirk Cousins has finally started to look comfortable. On the season, Cousins has put up nice numbers (4,166 yards passing, 29 TDs) but has also been responsible for 17 turnovers. The pass-catching duo of Adam Thielan and Stefon Diggs has combined for 204 receptions, 2,309 yards and 17 TDs. The defense has been excellent, ranked just ahead of Chicago at #3 in the league, giving up 308.2 YPG.
Prediction: The Chicago pass rush is the key to this game. The Vikings have to pass the ball to win and that’s going to be a problem. If Cousins can avoid turnovers, the Vikings can control the pace of this game. With so much on the line, the defenses are likely to come up big. Play under 41 (Final score Chicago 20-19)