Monday Night Football Predictions Week 15: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Last week’s Monday Night football game was excellent watching. The teams combined for 803 yards of offense and 53 total points. It was the Rams who came away with the victory as they managed to win the turnover battle in this seesaw affair. I’m not sure we will get those kinds of numbers this week as the Minnesota Vikings travel to the windy city to take on the Chicago Bears, but I do expect to see one thing – and that is the team in purple pull out the win.
As of writing this, the Vikings are currently -5.5-point favorites, with the total set at 44. This line opened as Vikings -4 but has moved up slowly throughout the week. The Vikings come into this game with a few extra days of rest as they beat the Steelers on Thursday night football, while the Bears played and lost to the Packers late Sunday night.
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Storylines to follow
Monsters Inc. of the Midway: It’s been a really long time since we’ve seen the true Monsters of the Midway patrol Soldier Field. The Bears were once the gold standard for hardnose defense and a never-give-in attitude. This year, the defense has gone out the window, and it’s not something the offense can overcome. Look, Matt Nagy has taken a lot of criticism (and rightfully so) for the way he calls the offense. He ran Mitch Trubisky into the ground and now he’s flip-flopping between Andy Dalton and rookie Justin Fields – which doesn’t do the latter any favors. The offense is void of any real talent and the on-field product shows. The Bears rank 29th in total yards per game, 32nd in passing yards, seventh in rushing yards, 27th in points per game and 29th in third-down conversion percentage. To put it bluntly, they stink. And if the defense keeps on giving up scores like 24, 38, 33, 29, 16, 33 and 45 (all losses starting in Week 6), the offense simply doesn’t have a chance to succeed. While I’m not expecting the Vikings to hand 45 on the Bears this week, I do think the Bears’ defense is ripe for the picking after a brutal showing last week in prime time against the Packers.
Recipe for Success: I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “Let Russ Cook” in reference to Seattle letting Russell Wilson make plays and throw the football 40+ times. Well, now, with a real Cook in the kitchen – Dalvin Cook that is – the Vikings should get back to doing what they do best, and that is run the football and “Let Dalvin Cook”. Look, Cook has dealt with his fair share of injuries in his short career, but he’s been one hell of a back when he’s healthy and the Vikings are feeding him the football. Cook is coming off a 205-yard, two touchdown game vs the Steelers. And with the Bears defense giving up 120 yards on the ground per game (24th), the Vikings offensive line should feast, and Cook should be able to rack up another huge day. Cook’s success should also translate into success for Kirk Cousins as it will afford him time in the pocket off the play-action to make wise decisions and not force footballs under pressure. In today’s NFL, where teams would rather throw the ball 40+ times a game, the Vikings are best served going old school and letting the Cook go to work.
Angles and Trends:
If you like Bears and are going to take the points, you are banking on the following:
- Bears are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Monday games
- Bears are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 home games vs a team with a losing road record
- Bears are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games while hosting the Vikings
- Bears are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 meetings with Minnesota
- Underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 head-to-head meetings.
- Vikings are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 vs a team with a losing record
- Vikings are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games as a favorite.
If you like the Vikings and want to lay the points, these trends are for you:
- Vikings are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games in Week 15
- Bears are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 vs the NFC
- Bears are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs the NFC North
- Bears are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games as a home underdog
- Bears are 0-4 Ats in their last 4 home games.
If you are thinking about betting the total, these are the important trends to know:
- Under is 4-0 in Rams’ last 4 games in December
- Over is 9-1 in Rams last 10 games as an underdog
- Over is 7-1 in Rams last 8 games as a road underdog
- Under is 8-0 in Cardinals last 8 Monday games
- Under is 19-9 in Cardinals last 28 games as a home favorite
We got back in the win column last week as we took the Los Angeles Rams +2.5 and they ended up winning the game outright. This week, we are taking another road team, but are going to lay the points with the Vikings as this game is crucial to them as they chase the last wild card spot. The Vikings were able to dominate an overrated Steelers team on Thursday. And with the extended rest and prep time, and a few more days for Dalvin Cook to recover from his 205-yard, two-touchdown performance, we see more of the same from the Vikings against this bad Bears’ defense. I’m not exactly sure where the Bears’ offensive output against the Packers came from, but I definitely don’t see it happening again this week.
Pick: Minnesota Vikings -5.5
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