The Chicago Bears will host the Minnesota Vikings in an NFC North divisional clash on Monday night. At 6-7, the Vikings are still in the playoff hunt as FiveThirtyEight estimates their chances at 21%. As for the 4-9 Bears, it’s only a matter of time before they’re mathematically eliminated, considering they have less than a one percent chance to reach the postseason. However, that doesn’t mean Chicago has little to play for, especially with their rookie quarterback, Justin Fields, gaining some much-needed experience as a starter.
Chicago’s offense has looked much better in the past two weeks, as it averaged 26 points per game during that span. And although Fields threw two interceptions in the previous game against the Packers, the Bears took a 27-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.
I think Monday’s matchup will provide plenty of opportunities for both teams to put points on the board. Minnesota ranks ninth in the league in points per game (26.5). Moreover, the total is on a 4-0 run to the over in Minnesota’s past four games. If we look at the red zone stats, we’ll find that the Vikings rank fourth offensively (65.12%) in touchdown conversions. However, defensively, they rank 25th in allowing opponents to convert 67.50% of red zone opportunities into touchdowns.
A significant weakness of the Vikings is defending against the run. Minnesota’s 27th in allowing 129.5 rushing yards per game, and it’s tied for 29th in allowing opponents to rush for 4.7 yards per carry. I suspect that the Bears will be able to take advantage of Fields’s dual-threat ability in running the football. Chicago ranks eighth with 126 rushing yards per game, and Fields averages 5.9 yards per carry.
When you put it all together, this total seems short at 45, and I think the over is worth a look in this spot.
All NFL predictions and picks are courtesy of SportsGrid.
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