In a game of huge significance for both teams, the 2-1 Chicago Bears will host the 2-1 Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field Sunday afternoon. With the Packers losing to the Eagles Thursday night, the winner of this game will move up in an extraordinarily competitive NFC North.
The Bears are 2-point favorites at Soldier Field, and the expected point total is 38. Chicago swept the series last year, winning at Soldier Field 25-20 and beating the Vikings again to close out the season in week 17, 24-10. Here’s a look at what to expect from both teams in Sunday’s matchup.
Injury Issues Will Hurt Bears and Vikings
Taylor Gabriel will miss the game with a concussion, and defensive lineman Bilal Nichols will miss his second game in a row with a broken hand. Nichols’ injury is particularly concerning, especially considering the Bears might also be without Pro Bowler Akiem Hicks on the defensive line.
Both Hicks and guard Kyle Long are questionable and will be game-time decisions. Losing Hicks would be a huge blow for this Bears defense, especially where stopping Dalvin Cook is concerned.
The Vikings will be without a starting offensive player and a special teams star. They will be without guard Josh Kline and special teamer/linebacker Kentrell Brothers. Cornerback MacKenzie Alexander is questionable with an elbow injury.
The Vikings will likely feel Kline’s loss the most, as he has been a solid player at right guard, and the Vikings will need all the help they can get against this Bears pass rush.
Dalvin Cook Leads a Balanced Vikings Attack
The NFC North is currently the only division in football in which every team has a winning record. The Vikings have revamped their offensive line this offseason, and now that Dalvin Cook is finally healthy, he has simply destroyed every defense he has faced.
In three games, Cook has 375 yards rushing on 57 attempts (that’s a whopping 6.6 yards per carry) and four rushing touchdowns. He will face his toughest test against this stout Bears defense, which has five sacks, six turnovers, and leads the league in forcing negative yardage.
Much of this game will come down to quarterback play. Both Kirk Cousins and Mitchell Trubisky have thrown game-killing red zone interceptions already this year. The Bears offense has been bad early, but they were bad early last season, too.
Look for Bears Coach Matt Nagy to rely on the run more in this game, and look for Bears rookie David Montgomery to be a factor.
Bears vs. Vikings: Trends, Pick and Prediction
Currently, Odds Shark is predicting the Vikings to win, cover the spread, and that the game’s total score will be OVER 38 points.
A few other trends about this game noted by Odds Shark:
- The Vikings are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games against Chicago
- The total has been UNDER in 4 of the Vikings last 5 games on the road
- The total has gone UNDER in 7 of the Bears’ last 8 games.
- Chicago is 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games.
NFC North battles are generally close in score and low scoring overall. Green Bay beat Chicago 10-3 week 1, and also beat the Vikings week 2, 21-16. This game should be similar. The Bears lost a tough home opener to the Packers. They can’t start the season out 0-2 at home in the division if they want to be contenders. Look for Chicago to eke out a home win in a game they already desperately need.
Pick: Bears -3