Hammering the under didn’t quite work out for Jeff and Sam last week, but being down on the Bears did as Chicago dropped its third straight game and the Titans covered that spread.
The guys had better luck in the survivor pool as the Steelers pulled out a win, even if they let the Cowboys hang around all afternoon.
Elsewhere in the survivor pool, only one strike was taken (on Arizona) and there’s still six perfect pickers out there.
Over in the Pick ‘Ems contest, Sam’s lead has disappeared after turning in his worst week of the year (five points, bleh) and now Little G has come up to tie with him at 78. Esraem was the week’s high scorer with 10 points. Jeff’s in fourth, Lester in 11th, Patti in 14th and WhiskeyRanger in 20th.
Now let’s look at this week’s game, against the Vikings at home.
Minnesota Vikings (-2.5) at Chicago Bears (O/U 44)
Monday, 7:15 p.m. CT, ESPN
Sam: Look, we’re all down on the Bears. The offense is about as abysmal as I can remember and I remember 2004, 2014, 2005, 2016 and 2017, among others.
Anyway, this offense can’t move the ball two yards without some kind of penalty. Their lowlights should be played with Yakety Sax dubbed over.
All of that said, this is an immovable object (the Bears with the football) against an unstoppable force (Kirk Cousins in primetime).
Cousins in 0-9 on Monday Night Football and we all know his prime time record is not good (7-16). But the Vikings have Dalvin Cook and are averaging 27.1 points per game.
So this one comes down to do you trust the defense to shut down Cook enough for the offense to be able to outpace the Vikings?
I don’t know, but I do know that a law of betting is that intra-division home underdogs are nearly a must-bet. It’s tried and true.
They’re short home dogs and I don’t feel great about it, but I’m taking the points and playing the Bears. I think the defense will ball out against Cook and Cousins and even if they don’t win, they’ll keep it close.
I’ll once again take the under, the Vikings and Bears have combined for more than 44 points just twice in the last six years.
In the survivor pool I’m taking the Saints against the 49ers. While the Packers are tempting, I’m saving them for later, I think the Saints can win outright.
Picks: Bears +2.5, under 44, Saints (survivor)
JB: Sam says the under bet didn’t work out last week but I cashed my under bet in the Bears Titans game so not sure if Sam caught a bad line last week or what. I know I cashed it because it was the only bet I ended up making because I was so sure the offense would suffer with 4 out of 5 backup offensive linemen. And in case you didn’t watch that same Titans defense get steamrolled by the Colts last night, I’ll remind you that the Titans defense is mediocre at best.
So, what can we expect against a suddenly resurgent Vikings squad? The Vikings are inexperienced in the secondary - great for most teams to take advantage of but might not mean much for the Bears. The Vikings have also found joy with Dalvin Cook in the run game, something the Bears have struggled with early in the season, but have improved as of late.
Nagy’s crew has matched up well with the Vikings since his arrival and this is, don’t kid yourself, an absolute must win for the Bears if they still want to make a playoff run. With the bye week just ahead, this game means everything for the Bears. If the Bears lose, they’ll carry a four game losing streak into the bye and amplify calls for Nagy’s head.
I think, given the do-or-die circumstances, I’ll take the Bears with the points. I agree with Sam that the smart money remains on the under, but I have a feeling this bounces in a different direction so I’ll take the over.
As for Survivor, I’m taking the Pa... hmmm... the Pack... blegh... the Packers. They’ve got a home date with the Jaguars, are playing well, and have the biggest spread of the week. Let’s burn them here and never speak of this again.
Picks: Bears +2.5, Under 44, Packers.