Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears
Time: NOON ET (FOX)
Spread: MIN -1.5
Betting odds c/o Bovada
The 4-2 Minnesota Vikings are looking to win its third straight as it travels to Soldier Field to face the 2-4 Chicago Bears on FOX at Noon (ET) Sunday. Early odds showed the Vikes as 1.5 point favorites in the game, which has an over/under of 43.
The Vikings have been getting it done with one of the NFL’s best defenses. It won 28-19 over the Detroit Lions on the road, and if the ‘D” keeps it up the Vikings can hopefully get a rare road win over the Bears. Minnesota has lost 13 of its last 14 in Chicago, and the Bears averaged 32.9 points in the seven straight home wins over Minny. That defense is what is giving the Vikings the edge, because it is certainly not the historicity of this series to expect a win from Minnesota.
Minnesota has given up 20 points or less in the last five games, and it is tied with Denver for No. 2 in the league in points allowed (17.0). Last week Minnesota held Detroit to 274 yards while piling seven sacks unto the belt of Matthew Stafford. This was Detroit coming off a week in which it had 546 yards on Chicago.
Minnesota is starting to hear the buzz of its offensive critics die down too. It managed just a field goal in Week 1, but QB Teddy Bridgewater has amassed 834 yards and four TDs in the last three weeks. Adrian Peterson has returned from his child beating suspension but still only rushed for 23 yards on 18 carries against Detroit. He was battling a stomach illness in the game.
He was redeemed by a 75-yard rush, but he has not been himself on the field and the shrimp that gave him food poisoning cannot take the fall for all of it. Peterson is battling injuries to his hip, finger and ankle, but he is expected to play this week.
The Vikings best offensive talent has been rookie WR Stefon Diggs, who has caught 19 passes for 324 yards in the last three contests. Diggs caught a TD pass (his first) against Detroit while catching six total for 108 yards. Diggs said, “I was preparing myself since day one, and I knew I was going to have to sharpen my blade when it was game time.”
The Bears have allowed just 220 passing yards per game this season, though (No. 6 in NFL). Contradicting this, Chicago has also given up the third-highest passer rating in the league (108.6). It has managed just three INTs while giving up 15 TD passes, which is how a passer rating gets inflated, obviously.
The Bears are tied for last in the NFL allowing 29.8 points per game, and DL Jeremiah Ratliff was cut following his altercation with GM Ryan Pace. The loss of Ego Ferguson to a season-ending injury two weeks ago leaves Chicago short on depth in its DL. Ziggy Hood comes in to fill the spot, but the instability and mediocrity of its DL is going to allow QBs to thrive regularly.
The Bears will welcome back WR Alshon Jeffery who caught eight passes for 147 yards last game, and the Bears managed 444 yards with Jeffery giving it more options. The Bears have only managed over 400 yards twice, and both were the games in which Jeffery appeared this season.
Even so, Chicago has scored just three times in eight trips to the red zone in those two games, and Chicago ranks near the bottom of the league in red zone efficiency (44.4 percent). Minnesota is also the fourth-best team in red zone defense. RB Matt Forte has not had great success against Minnesota, he has carried the ball 244 times in the last 11 games against the Vikes without scoring a single TD.