Week 15 Preview: Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikingsby Ethan Hewette December 20, 2020 0 comments
The Chicago Bears (6-7) head north to take on the Minnesota Vikings (6-7). The Bears were finally able to right the ship last week and got their first win after a six-game losing streak. Meanwhile, in Minnesota, head coach Mike Zimmer and the Vikings need a win this week to hold on to any playoff hopes this season.
Chicago had been on one of their worst six-game streaks, getting outscored by an average of 10 points. However, last week both sides of the football looked like their early season form against the much weaker Houston Texans. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky posted a 72 percent completion percentage, 267 yards, and three touchdowns, giving him his highest passer rating this season at 126.7. However, the real star of the offense right now is second-year running back David Montgomery.
Over the last three games, Montgomery has totaled over 300 yards from scrimmage, averaged 7.3 yards per carry, and put up four total touchdowns. Montgomery is one of the four running backs in the NFL who have totaled more than 700 rushing yards and 300 or more receiving yards. Meanwhile, wideout Allen Robinson has been the target of choice leading the Bears in all major receiving categories.
Defensively, the Bears’ dominant defense returned last week against the Houston Texans, allowing just seven points to a Deshaun Watson led offense. The Bears racked up six sacks, forced two fumbles, and allowed only 263 total yards of offense. Granted, this week, they will be taking on a much better rushing offense and a more balanced attack. Roquan Smith has been a tackling machine leading the team with 122 total tackles and 17 tackles for loss. He, Khalil Mack, who leads the team with 7.5 sacks, and Akiem Hicks will be tasked with slowing down one of the best running backs in the NFL. However, they will be without rookie cornerback Jaylon Johnson, defensive back Deon Bush, and corner Buster Skrine.
For Minnesota, Kirk Cousins leads an average, yet balanced, attack. The last seven games have seen the Vikings go 5-2 and claw their way back into potential playoff contention. Over that stretch, Cousins has thrown 16 touchdowns to just two interceptions. Running back Dalvin Cook has been phenomenal this season, also being one of the four running backs in the NFL to total over 700 rushing yards and 300 receiving yards. On top of that, Cook leads the league in yards from scrimmage with 1,674 yards. Rookie wideout Justin Jefferson will look to replicate his Week 10 performance against the Bears. He totaled 135 yards on eight receptions. However, tight end Irv Smith will have to step into the starting role with Kyle Rudolph out for today’s game.
Date: December 20th, 2020
Start time: 12:00 P.M. CST
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Stadium: U.S. Bank Stadium
TV Info: FOX
Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook
Point Spread: CHI +3 (-110) | MIN -3 (-110)
Moneyline: CHI +130 | MIN -160
Over/Under: O 47 (-110)｜U 47 (-110)
Chicago’s defense is going to give the Vikings offense a run for their money. However, with the balanced attack that they bring and Jefferson’s dominant performance in these two team’s last meeting, bettors should feel confident that the Vikings can cover this weekend. Chicago’s offense will falter one or two too many drives.
If there were ever a week to think that Chicago’s defense could give up a fair amount of points, it would be this one. With a depleted secondary due to injury and some inconsistencies in getting after the passer, the Vikings’ well-balanced offense has a chance to put up a lot of points. The same could also be said for the Bears taking on a middle of the road Vikings defense. Take the over in this one.
The Vikings come out strong in the first half, and Cousins hooks up with both Jefferson and Adam Thielen for touchdowns. On the other hand, Chicago struggles in the first half with Trubisky unable to find a rhythm early. Minnesota emerges at halftime with a 17-7 lead. In the second half, the Bears start to get into a groove, with Montgomery starting to stack on the yardage, and he runs in for a couple of scores. For Minnesota, the balanced attack can keep the Bears defense guessing until the end.
Final Score: Chicago 24, Minnesota 28