Believe it or not, this is a winnable game for Chicago.
The Vikings have been hot, since beating the Bears back in week 6, they went 4-1, even without Justin Jefferson and Kirk Cousins.
Josh Dobbs is playing good football, but this is still a flawed team. They are one-dimensional and the reality is that they aren’t an elite team.
But, it’s winnable only on paper. We know that the Bears are a poorly coached team that can’t seem to find a way to win, no matter what and default to finding ways to lose.
SB Nation site: Daily Norseman
Record: 6-5, second in the NFC North
Last week: 21-20 loss to the Broncos
Game day, time, TV: Monday, 7:15 p.m. CT, ESPN
Spread: According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Bears are 3.5-point underdogs to the Vikings. The total is set at 45.
Bears all-time record against: 57-66-2 (including postseason)
Historical meetings: The Bears have lost three straight Monday night games to Minnesota. Their last win was in week 8 of the 2016 season.
The 5-1 Vikings came to Soldier Field on Halloween to face the 1-6 Bears.
Chicago jumped out to a 13-point lead with two Conner Barth field goals and a Jordan Howard rushing touchdown.
The Vikings made it 13-3 just before halftime. The Bears took the opening kick of the second half and drove down the field and capped it with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Jay Cutler to Alshon Jeffery.
The Bears sacked Sam Bradford five times in the game. The Vikings did get one more touchdown but the Bears got the upset and won 20-10.
Last meeting: Week 6. The Bears hung around and the defense kept Chicago in the game throughout the first half.
The offense just couldn’t break through. But then Justin Fields went out with a dislocated thumb.
Tyson Bagent, in his first NFL action, gave up a fumble that was returned for a touchdown and threw a pick.
The Vikings won 19-13.
Injury report: The Vikings had three players on their first injury report Thursday
- WR Justin Jefferson (hamstring)
- TE T.J. Hockenson (ribs)
- CB Akayleb Evans (calf)
Offense: The Vikings offense comes into the game ranked 12th in points and 10th in yards.
Their passing offense ranks third and their rushing offense ranks 28th.
Josh Dobbs (65.6 cmp pct/647 yds./4 TD/1 INT since joining Minnesota), has become one of the biggest stories of the NFL after showing up at the trade deadline from Arizona and winning a game in relief and then his first start.
As a team, the Vikings have lost 14 fumbles, most in the league. They have 20 turnovers as a team, fourth-most in the league
As of this writing, it remains unclear if Justin Jefferson (hamstring) will return, but the Vikings have plenty of other weapons.
T.J. Hockenson (75 rec./736 yds./4 TD) and Jordan Addison (48/647/7) have exploded. The rookie, Addison, in particular has gone off in Jefferson’s absence. K.J. Osborn (33/384/2), and Alexander Mattison (25/163/3) are the supporting cast.
Running back Mattison (148 att./542 yds./0 TD) leads the way on the ground and trade acquisition Cam Akers (38/138/1) gets in work, too. Ty Chandler (33/160/1) gets a few carries, too.
Keep in mind Josh Dobbs, who has been on the team for three games, leads Minnesota in rushing touchdowns with three.
Defense: The Vikings defense enters Monday night ranked 25th in points allowed and 13th in yards allowed.
Their passing defense ranks 17th and their rushing defense ranks seventh.
Up front Danielle Hunter (12 sk./14 QB hits/16 TFL/3 FF) is having a monster season. D.J. Wonnum (6 sk./2 PD/12 QB hits/6 TFL) is also helping provide a pass rush.
Safety Harrison Smith (3 sk./3 FF/71 tkls.) is still being productive. Cornerbacks are Byron Murphy (3 INT/40 tkls/12 PD) and Akayleb Evans (49 tkls/5 PD/3 FF).
Starting safety Camryn Bynum (91 tkls./2 INT/2 TFL/8 PD/1 FF) and Jordan Hicks (87 tkls./4 TFL/4 PD/1 FF) lead Minnesota in tackles.
Key match ups: The VIkings have a lot of weapons and offensive fire-power. They have been very one-dimensional this season, relying on the pass and struggling to run the ball.
However, the addition of Dobbs has changed that up a bit. Being that he is more mobile than Kirk Cousins, he can keep plays alive longer and can scramble and run. Contain Dobbs and keep him in the pocket.
Cover Hockenson and Addison (and Jefferson if he plays). Those are the keys for the defense.
On offense, run the ball, play to Justin Fields’ strengths and involve DJ Moore. I shouldn’t have to write that every week. Good things happen when Moore is targeted.
The Bears run the ball well and that will go a long way to help them. Work in play action and moving pockets with Fields to take shots.
- Josh Dobbs leads Minnesota in rushing touchdowns with three. He’s played three games for the team.
- Opposing quarterbacks have a 92.3 rating against the Vikings.
- Minnesota’s defense has allowed opposing receivers the most catches and yards in the league.
- Even without Kirk Cousins, the Vikings have the most passing yards in the league and are tied with the Dolphins and Bills for most passing touchdowns.
- On the ground though, the Vikings have just five rushing touchdowns and average 3.9 yards per carry.
- Minnesota’s third-down defense ranks 25th. Opponents are converting 41.3 percent of their third downs.
- The Bears are on a five-game losing streak to the Vikings.
- Chicago has lost 12 straight NFC North games.
Can the Bears win Monday night? What is it going to take?