Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Sunday, 10/16/11, 8:20 PM EST, TV: NBC
Opening Point Spread: Chicago -3
Current Betting Line: Chicago -3
Opening Total: 42.5
Current Total: 41.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
The Chicago Bears return to prime time for the second time in a week and hope to turn in a better performance on Sunday Night Football when they host the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field. The Bears (2-3) are coming off a dismal defensive performance in a 24-13 loss at Detroit on Monday Night Football and will have a different look when the Vikings (1-4) come to town.
Chicago (-3, O/U 41.5) is expected to bench starting safeties Chris Harris and Brandon Meriweather after both players were responsible for giving up big plays to the Lions. Harris was beaten badly on a 73-yard touchdown pass to Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson and will be replaced by second-year player Major Wright while Meriweather’s spot will be filled by rookie Chris Conte.
Harris had missed the previous three games with a hamstring injury, and his contract is up after this year. There has been some speculation that the Bears are going with a youth movement, but they are also expected to be without All-Pro defensive end Julius Peppers due to a sprained knee he suffered at Detroit.
Offensively, Chicago played about as well as could be expected against the Lions considering their line is still a work in progress. Quarterback Jay Cutler did his best to avoid the pass rush and ended up throwing for 249 yards and one touchdown while running back Matt Forte also ran hard with 116 yards on 22 carries. Cutler burned Minnesota in two meetings last season, throwing six touchdown passes in a pair of wins.
The Vikings put together their first complete game last week in a 34-10 home win against Arizona, but they were still outscored 7-6 by the Cardinals in the second half. Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson scored three touchdowns in the first quarter as the team built a 28-0 lead and cruised from there. The team has been outscored 84-22 after the intermission this season.
The UNDER has cashed in the last two games for the Vikings after going OVER in the previous two. Their defense will need to step up and put pressure on Cutler if they are going to win two straight games for the first time since Week 13 of last season.
The Bears have covered the spread in the last three meetings with Minnesota along with five of seven. The OVER is 4-1 in the past five games between the teams at Chicago.
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