We’re a bit late in getting to this one, ladies and gentlemen, but we’re still doing it in enough time for everyone to call their shots about this afternoon’s contest at U.S. Bank Stadium between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears.
As we have every week, here is your prediction widget from our friends at The Crowd’s Line.
As we’ve mentioned a few times over the course of this past week, this game really doesn’t have any meaning for either team, with the exception of a couple of individual record seekers. Sam Bradford is likely going to set the single-season completion percentage record, while Adam Thielen is still on the quest for 1,000 yards. . .a mark he’ll be seeking alone, as it doesn’t appear as though Stefon Diggs will be suiting up for this one. The Bears, on the other hand, are playing for draft position. A loss for Chicago would wrap up the #3 overall pick in the NFL Draft for them, while a victory would drop them as low as #6 overall.
The Vikings also need a win to avoid becoming the first team in NFL history to finish below .500 after getting off to a 5-0 start. A loss today would give them a 7-9 finish, as well as a 1-5 record against the NFC North this season. . .getting swept by both the Bears and the Lions in the process. There really isn’t a whole lot of analysis to be had for this one, ladies and gentlemen. Both teams are going to be looking to get out of this one unscathed and start their offseasons.
For the Bears, they’re going to go with Matt Barkley at quarterback, and he had a stretch where he actually looked fairly decent. Then, last week against Washington, he threw five interceptions and the Bears got blown out. The Vikings’ primary concern will likely be stopping running back Jordan Howard, who had a huge game against this Vikings’ defense in the Week 8 loss at Soldier Field. If they can slow him down, they will give Barkley the opportunity to make mistakes.
When the Vikings have the ball, we’ll continue to see the same short passing game and almost complete lack of a running game we’ve become accustomed to this season. Bradford will look for Thielen and Kyle Rudolph while mixing in some Cordarrelle Patterson, and hopefully that will be enough to push them down the field. Again, they will have to be better in the red zone than they’ve been for most of the season if they want to walk out of this one with a victory.
After completely falling apart over the second half of this season, hopefully the Vikings can get this victory to at least get themselves back to .500 and avoid another depressing distinction. The homer in me says that they get the job done.
Vikings 27, Bears 17 to close out the 2016 NFL regular season.
Who ya got in this one, ladies and gentlemen?