Vikings Favored by 5.5 Points over Bears in Week 18
After the Minnesota Vikings opened the week as just 1.5-point favorites over the Chicago Bears on Monday, that point spread has only ballooned ever since. About 48 hours later, we now find ourselves in a spot with the Vikings favored by 5.5 points over their division rivals.
This movement in the line likely comes from the fact that head coach Kevin O’Connell has decided that the Vikings will be playing starters this weekend. After Minnesota’s loss to the Green Bay Packers, especially considering the injuries they suffered in that game, it was unclear as to whether they would rest starters or go about business as usual.
The Vikings fell to the No. 3 seed after the 49ers overtime win over the Raiders, lost their path to the No. 1 seed, and no longer control their own destiny in terms of which playoff spot they land. Instead, the Vikings need to win on Sunday and have the Arizona Cardinals, likely quarterbacked by Minnesota’s former QB3 David Blough, defeat the 49ers in order to capture that second seed in the playoffs. After Week 17, Blough is 0-6 in his career as a starter, so he’s still trying to capture that elusive first win.
In the first game between the Bears and Vikings, Minnesota found themselves on top after–stop me if you’ve heard this before–a game-winning drive by Kirk Cousins and the offense. The Vikings toppled the Bears 29-22 after Cousins pushed through the goal line for a 1-yard touchdown and completed a 2-point conversion pass to Justin Jefferson.
Chicago got the ball and former Vikings fifth-round pick Ihmir Smith-Marsette made a catch but had the ball ripped away by CB Cam Dantzler, sealing the win for Minnesota at U.S. Bank Stadium. Since then, the Vikings have gone 8-3, en route to an NFC North title. Meanwhile, the Bears have lost 10 of 11 games, including nine straight.
A Vikings win this weekend could be favorable for both teams, too, considering the Bears are half a game away from having the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. If Houston pulls off a win against the Colts, Chicago is in a position to snatch that top pick if they lose.
Kickoff between the Bears and Vikings is set for 12 PM CST on Sunday, January 8th at Soldier Field.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.