|-2.5 MIN (-116) @ bet365|
8* Take Minnesota (#275)
You can look at every one of the Bears victories and make a very reasonable case to call them fraudulent. The got the Bucs with an aging Tom Brady on a Thursday Night – short week with travel for a QB who needs his recuperation time. They trailed by double digits in Detroit before a Lions collapse and by double digits in Atlanta before a Falcons collapse, two teams not known for holding leads. Wins over the Panthers and Giants both came down to the final possession. And the best of those last four teams has three wins for the entire season.
The Bears have cluster injuries on the offensive line and it’s bad. Last week, they were without starting right tackle Bobby Massie, staring center Cody Whitehair, backup right tackle Jason Spriggs, backup center Sam Mustipher, and swing tackle Lachavious Simmons. QB Nick Foles is not making good decisions under pressure, and the offense has a grand total of 741 rushing yards on 3.7 yards per carry for the season. Leading rusher David Montgomery is in concussion protocal; backup Tarik Cohen is on IR. No other RB on the roster has a carry this season. I’m expecting yet another game where the Bears struggle to run and struggle to pass.
Mike Zimmer lost both meetings to Matt Nagy last year and both meetings against Nagy in 2018 as well. Despite their 3-5 current record, the Vikings are very much in playoff contention and they know it – this isn’t a ‘quit’ team. They’ve got the Cowboys, Panthers and Jags over the next three weeks so a win here sets them up for a legit turnaround off their awful start. This is not a team just playing out the string at this stage of the campaign.
Even with cluster injuries in the secondary, the Vikings have shut down both Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford in the two games since their bye week; their two best defensive showings of the season. Kirk Cousins has found a real rhythm with rookie playmaker Justin Jefferson as well as veteran Adam Thielen, while Dalvin Cook is the most dangerous running back in the NFL right now. With temperatures in the ‘reasonable’ range – cold, but not below freezing – I trust Cousins and the Vikings to play up to their capabilities and keep this mid-season surge going! Take the Vikings.