NFL Monday Night Football Picks: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Monday, October 9, 2017, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Soldier Field – Chicago, Illinois
Opening Line: Minnesota -2
Current Line: Minnesota -3 1/2
Opening Total: 40 1/2
Current Total: 40 1/2
Opening Money Line: Vikings -165 / Bears +145
Current Money Line: Vikings -185 / bears +160

The Vikings travel to the Bears in an NFC North battle Monday night.

The Mitchell Trubisky era begins Monday night as the 1-3 Chicago Bears host the 2-2 Minnesota Vikings in an NFC North match-up. Both teams are looking up at the 4-1 Green Bay Packers and 3-2 Detroit Lions in the Division. After four lackluster games from quarterback Mike Glennon, the Bears will turn to the rookie Trubisky whom they traded up to draft last spring. Minnesota has quarterback issues of their own as Sam Bradford looks to return from a bone bruise in his knee after missing the last three games.

Minnesota leads the series against Chicago 58-52-2. The Vikings have won four of the last five games in the series. The teams split the series last year. The Bears won 20-10 in Chicago on Halloween and the Vikings won 38-10 in Minneapolis on New Year’s Day. The teams will close the season on New Year’s Eve in Minneapolis.

Minnesota is coached by Mike Zimmer. The Vikings have home wins over the New Orleans Saints 29-19 and Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34-17. Minnesota has a road loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers 26-9 and a home loss to the Detroit Lions 14-7 last week. The Vikings were 2.5 point favorites against the Lions and the total was 43. Minnesota is 2-2 ATS and the total is 2-2 this season.

Chicago is coached by John Fox and is 1-2 this season. The Bears lost at home to the Atlanta Falcons 23-17 and has road losses to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 29-7 and Green Bay Packers 35-14 last Thursday. Chicago upset the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-17 in overtime in Chicago. The Packers were 7.5 point favorites and the total was 44. Chicago is 2-2 ATS and the total is 1-3 this season.

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Minnesota is outscoring teams 19.8-19. The Vikings are #9 in  points allowed. Minnesota is averaging 371 yards per game on offense including 263 passing and 108 rushing yards. The Vikings are #7 in total and passing offense. Minnesota allows 318 yards per game on defense including 247 passing and 71 rushing yards. The Vikings are in the top ten in total and rush defense. Minnesota is 24/56 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 11/43. Minnesota has forced 11 sacks and allowed 5 this season. The Vikings are -1 in turnovers.

Case Keenum has started in place of Bradford for the last three games. He has completed 61% of his passes for 755 yards with three touchdowns, and rushed for 18 yards on 6 carries . Bradford has completed 84.4% of his passes for 346 yards with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. Bradford is likely to start barring a setback. Teddy Bridgewater could come back as soon as week seven after suffering a horrific knee injury before last season started.

Rookie running back Dalvin Cook is out indefinitely with a torn ACL suffered last week. He had 74 carries for 354 yards and four touchdowns, plus 11 catches for 90 yards. Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray will split the carries with out Cook. They have combined for 24 carries for 64 yards. McKinnon has 8 catches for 40 yards and is probable with an ankle injury. Bishop Sankey is also out for the season with a knee injury.

Receiver Stefon Diggs has 22 catches for 391 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is questionable with a knee injury. Adam Thielen has 24 catches for 358 yards and no touchdowns. Tight end Kyle Rudolph has 10 catches for 109 yards and a touchdown.  No other receiver has more than 5 catches, excluding the running backs. Four defensive players and two offensive linemen are listed on the injury report.

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Chicago is being outscored 26-15. The Bears are #31 in scoring and #28 in points allowed in the league. Chicago averages 306 total yards per game including 189 passing and 118 rushing yards. The Bears are #25 in total offense  and #26 in passing. On defense, Chicago allows 306 yards per game including 221 passing yards and 86 rushing yards. The Bears are #8 in rush defense and #7 in total defense. The Bears are 24/57 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 25/52. Chicago has forced 9 sacks and allowed 8 this season. Chicago is -7 in turnovers.

Quarterback Mike Glennon has thrown for 833 yards with 4 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, and has been sacked eight times. Glennon will be the back-up behind Trubisky.  Mark Sanchez is questionable with a neck injury.

Running back Jordan Howard has 63 carries for 252 yards and 4 touchdowns, and has 10 catches for 50 yards. Tarik Cohen has 30 carries  for 181 yards, plus 24 catches for 150 yards and a touchdown.

Receiver Kendall Wright has 14 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Zach Miller has 13 catches for 143 yards. Deonte Thompson has 11 catches for 125 yards and a touchdown. Josh Bellamy has 10 catches for 114 yards. Cameron Meredith and Kevin white are both out for the season.  Seven defensive players and two offensive linemen are listed on the injury report for the Bears.

Minnesota is 6-1 ATS after allowing less than 15 points, 5-1 after failing to cover, 9-2 against teams with losing records, 8-2 in week five, 14-5 after rushing for less than 90 yards, 22-8 after a straight up loss, 5-2 against teams with losing home records, 7-3 in October, 9-4 after scoring less than 15 points, 40-19 overall, 2-8 in Monday games, 1-6 in road games, 1-5 against NFC North teams and on grass. The under is 8-3 in this series recently including 4-1 in Chicago. The favorite is 5-2 ATS in this series recently.

Chicago is 4-0 ATS after scoring less than 15 points, 6-1 at home, 4-1 after failing to cover and after allowing more than 30 points, 5-2 in Monday games, 7-3 after a straight up loss, and 1-4 against NFC teams. The home team is 21-8 ATS in this series. The Bears are 11-3 ATS at home against the Vikings.

There were some that were saying Chicago shouldn’t start the rookie because they are going to be terrible anyway and it might affect his confidence. However, many quarterbacks benefited from starting and struggling as a rookie. As for Minnesota, the loss of Cook will hurt, but they will m ost likely get Bradford back. I like the Vikings to win in convincing fashion on the road.

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