By: Jay Patel and Trent Pruitt
Spread: Minnesota Vikings (-3)
Money Line: MIN (-170) CHI (+150)
Kick-Off: 7:15 PM CT, Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
After losers of three straight games, the 5-4 Chicago Bears desperately try to find an offensive identity as they face the surging Minnesota Vikings. The NFC North race is heating up as Detroit and Green Bay each picked up wins this weekend. The Vikings, at 3-5, must win to keep pace in the division. On the other hand, the Bears must win to keep pace with the Packers, and continue to fight off Detroit. This game has huge implications, and for the Bears, a win would mean so much more.
Jay’s Analysis and Best Bet
HC Matt Nagy has finally decided to give up play calling as OC Bill Lazor will take over. It will be interesting to see how Lazor calls the game as Chicago’s offense has been dismal week in, week out. Chicago’s run game (82.3 rushing yards per game) will be without top back David Montgomery (concussion). Veteran RB Lamar Miller will be elevated to the active roster to fill Montgomery’s spot. Expect Cordarrelle Patterson, Ryan Nall, and possibly some of the WRs to be involved in the run game as well. An offense averaging below 20 points a game (19.8 to be exact) needs to step up and support a defense that has been put in too many bad situations.
Speaking of Chicago’s defense, this will be another week where they will be facing a top RB. The Bears D did a good job of containing Derrick Henry, and now they will need to stop a flaming-hot Dalvin Cook (858 rushing yards and 12 TDs this season). Rookie WR Justin Jefferson (627 receiving yards) is also a dangerous offensive weapon the Bears will need to contain. The Bears D has come up with timely stops, but now they want to force more turnovers as well. They have struggled to do so thus far, but this D still remains hungry.
I’m personally excited to see Chicago’s offense under a new play-caller. I think it will benefit the offense in more ways than one. I also like Chicago’s defense against Kirk Cousins. At 5-4, the Bears are very well in the playoff hunt, and I like them in this divisional clash. I’m backing my Bears on primetime. I’ll take the Bears money line (+150) for one unit. Let’s get back on track and get in that end zone.
Jay’s NFL Picks Record: 7-2
Trent’s Analysis & Best Bet
Man, whenever it comes to divisional games with teams that I am a fan of, I overanalyze like crazy. Mix in the fact that it’s primetime Monday Night Football and I’m paralyzed when coming to pick a side or a total. I will say that I think the line is off, I would’ve expected a pick or -1 in either team’s favor, especially with the Bears at home. Add in the fact that the Bears are 4-0 against Vikings over the past two seasons, the Bears run defense is extremely capable (and proven) of stopping Dalvin Cook, and that statistic of Kirk Cousins struggling in primetime (I think he’s 1-8 now), I agree with Jay that there is great value with the Bears on Monday night. I will be making a small play on the Bears +3 (+107) – let’s throw half of a unit on it.
You guys came here for action though and I would feel guilty just piggy-backing off of Jay’s pick so I am going to take it to the prop sheet for another couple of selections. For starters, I am going to ride with Dalvin Cook’s under on rushing yards for a unit (92.5 -114). Despite the FSU alum being on an absolute tear this season (858 yards, 6.0 y/a), he hasn’t fared well against Chicago. The Bears have held him to 35 yards on 14 carries, 39 yards on 11 carries, and 12 yards on 9 carries since 2018. Chicago’s defense always steps up to the challenge when a threatening run game is on the horizon and I expect the same tonight. They’ve held Derrick Henry to 68, Alvin Kamara to 67, Jonathan Taylor to 68, Todd Gurley to 80, and Adrian Peterson to 93. The only person to surpass 100 yards is Ronald Jones II on a short week on Thursday night and he went for 106 on 17 carries. The Bears defense is exceptional and everyone knows it. Mike Zimmer will certainly feed Cook (16-22 carries) but I expect him to respect the Bears D and look to use Cook in the pass game.