|3.5 CHI (-110) @ Fanduel|
My 10* MNF Magic play is on the Chi Bears at 8:15 ET.
Mike Zimmer began as Minnesota's head coach back in 2015 and led the Vikings to an 11-5 season (wild card berth). He's taken Minnesota to the playoffs in both 2017 (13-3 / division champs) and again last season at 10-6 (another wild card). However, in the even numbered years, 2016 and '18, his teams have fallen short of the postseason, going 8-8 and 8-7-1, respectively. A non-postseason year in 2020 will NOT be acceptable but the Vikings will be hard-pressed to avoid that from happening. The Chicago Bears hired John Fox as head coach in 2015 and he had three straight losing seasons, going 3-13 in 2016 and 5-11 in 2017. That was enough and the Bears hired Mike Nagy on January 7, 2018, Nagy was one of six candidates for the Bears' job and sure seemed like the 'right choice,' as Chicago went 12-4 in his first season. The Bears fell to 8-8 last season but surprised by opening 3-0 and 5-1. However, they enter this contest off THREE straight losses.
The Vikings were manhandled by the Packers in Week 1 and after a 40-23 loss Week 6 to Atlanta, stood 1-5. However, the team's Week 7 bye seems to have rejuvenated the team, as Minnesota won 28-22 at Green Bay in Week 8 and then beat Detroit 34-20 at home in Week 9. QB Kirk Cousins connected on 13 of his 20 pass attempts for 220 yards and 3 TDs in the win over the Lions, while RB Dalvin Cook ran for 206 yards on just 22 carries with two TDs. Kirk Cousins is oft-criticized but he completed 70.1% for 4,298 yards with 30 TDs and 10 INTs in his first season with the Vikings and then completed 69.1% for 3,603 yards with 26 TDs and 6 INTs last year, finishing with a career-high QB rating of 107.4. He's has NOT been that good this year, completing 65.6 percent for 1.855 yards. He has 15 TDs but 10 INTs, FOUR more than he had all last season. Dalvin Cook (858 yards on 6.0 YPC with 12 TDs), when healthy, is as good as any RB in the NFL. Cook has run for 369 yards (7.1 YC) for five TDs (plus one TD catch) in Minnesota's back-to-back wins. More on Cousins, Cook and Minnesota's defense in my 'closing argument.'
The Bears have used two QBs this season but with Trubisky sidelined with a shoulder injury, Foles is the current 'man.' He blows hot-and-cold but with RB Montgomery (472 yards) out with a concussion, he's thrown 93 passes the last two games (64 completions / 68.9%) for 607 yards with four TDs and just one INT. Chicago's best receiver, Allen Robinson (57 catches with three TDs) is listed as questionable but is expected to play. Fellow WRs Mooney and Miller have combined for 63 catches and four TDs, while TE Jimmy Graham looks 'young' again, with 35 catches and five TDs (had just 38 catches with Green Bay all of last season).
In closing, let's look defense, first. The Vikings are allowing 29.2 PPG on 417.9 YPG, while Chicago allows 21.1 PPG on 335.1 YPG. Chicago head coach Mike Nagy is a perfect 4-0 SU vs Minnesota in his first two seasons (1st of two meetings this season, tonight) and Kirk Cousins is 0-3 in three meetings with the Bears as a Viking (sat out meaningless Week 17 game in 2019), with Minnesota averaging a WOEFUL 12.0 PPG in those contests. There is no denying how good Cook can be but in Cousins' three losses vs the Bears, Cook has averaged a miniscule 28.7 YPG on the ground. Two last factoids. Cousins is 0-9 in his career on Monday nights, which is the worst record of any QB in NFL history! If that's not enough, how about the fact that Minnesota is a dismal 3-14 ATS in its last 17 games at Soldier Field? Not sure why there has been so much 'play' on Minnesota but I'm taking the home dog.