It might be hard to believe in hindsight, but the 2018 regular season finale ends today. What has been a whirlwind of an NFC North-winning season for Chicago reaches a fitting conclusion in Minnesota.
For the first time in forever, the Bears’ journey does not end today, however. No, no, they have far more meaningful playoff football looming, and might even have to play the rival Vikings two weeks in a row. Sunday will sort out the Bears’ initial playoff fate and begin carving out their path towards trying to end the longest championship drought in Chicago sports.
Here’s how the Windy City Gridiron staff sees Bears-Vikings playing out at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Robert Zeglinski: Vikings 24, Bears 16
The Bears playing at the same time as the Rams gives them the benefit of scoreboard watching. Once they see the Rams go up comfortably on the 49ers, they’ll call off the dogs and begin resting for the Wild Card Game in a meaningless loss.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.: Bears 24, Vikings 21
Kirk Cousins against the Bears pass rush is a matchup I like for Chicago, especially since he has historically struggled against good teams. I think Rams-49ers will be close throughout, so the Bears will keep on keeping on.
Aaron Leming: Vikings 24, Bears 16
Needless to say, I think the Vikings have more to play for. The Bears must balance a (could-be) meaningless win, against not showing too much to their likely Wild Card round playoff opponent.
Sam Householder: Vikings 28, Bears 23
With an eye towards the playoffs and a lackadaisical game-plan, the Bears sleepwalk to another road loss, prompting hand-wringing on sports radio leading into Wild Card Weekend.
Jack Silverstein: Bears 27, Vikings 9
I don’t believe in the Rams. Not one bit. The scoreboard-watching Bears use their starters, and as the 49ers pile it on in Los Angeles for reasons unknown, the Bears keep their foot on the gas and nab the No. 2 seed. Yes, this is happening.
Josh Sunderbruch: Bears 31, Vikings 17
The Vikings get a short field or two from offensive blunders, but Chicago takes an early lead and never lets go.
WhiskeyRanger: Bears 17, Vikings 13
This is going to be another tough game against a tough Vikings defense. That said, the Bears should be able to do enough to pull this one out, and shut down the playoff hopes of another division rival.
ECD: Bears 20, Vikings 13
I’m going to be at this game personally. Bears keep their starters in the lineup and take advantage of the chance to knock their division rivals out of the playoff picture.
Robert Schmitz: Vikings 27, Bears 14
The Bears rest more players than expected. At halftime, a lopsided 49ers-Rams score prompts the Bears to pull the entire starting defense and much of the starting offense as the game gets out of hand. The Vikings pop playoff champagne as the Bears begin plotting their destruction.
Ken Mitchell: Bears 24, Vikings 12
The Bears are just plain a better football team than the Vikings. Yes, I get homefield advantage, and yes, I get that it’s win-or-go home for the Vikings.
In fact, it’s that very “win or go home” that makes me pick the Bears in this game. I think the Bears offense accounts for 17 points and the defense for 7 more.
WCG Contributors: Jeff Berckes; Patti Curl; Eric Christopher Duerrwaechter; Kev H; Sam Householder; Jacob Infante; Aaron Lemming; Ken Mitchell; Steven Schweickert; Jack Silverstein; EJ Snyder; Lester Wiltfong, Jr.; Whiskey Ranger; Robert Zeglinski; Like us on Facebook.