National media split on outcome of Vikings/Bears II
The Minnesota Vikings have essentially been playing playoff game after playoff game for weeks now, courtesy of a 1-5 start that gave them an incredibly small margin of error if they wanted to make the post-season. After a deflating loss to a team that they outplayed (sound familiar?) in Tampa Bay, the Vikings are officially sans net the rest of the season.
Enter Chicago. The 2020 Bears are nearly the mirror of the Vikings, starting off as one of the hottest teams in the NFC only to lose 6 straight before dominating the Houston Texans last weekend.
This game could go either way, although the Vikings are favored by 3.5-points according to Sports Betting Dime, which also says the Vikings will score more than 17 points covering the spread.
What are the talking heads in the national media saying? It’s pretty split. Here’s the score prediction (and source) as well as a pertinent quote from each…
Sportsnaut: Vikings 30, Bears 17
“Out of necessity, embattled Bears head coach Matt Nagy had to turn back to Mitchell Trubisky back in Week 12 due to the Nick Foles’ injury. Shockingly, Trubisky responded by putting up a tremendous three-touchdown performance against the Texans in Week 13. We’re not 100% sure what to make of this given that Chicago had lost six consecutive heading in. Chicago will have an opportunity to continue this recent success against a Vikings squad reeling following a Week 14 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It’s a game that saw Kirk Cousins struggle to move the sticks while finding himself sacked six times. Minnesota now finds itself at 6-7 and on the outside looking in when it comes to the NFC Playoffs. The team is in must-win mode, something that should help Mike Zimmer and Co. come out on top.”
Sports Interaction: Go with the Vikings to cover
“Minnesota won in Chicago 19-13 on Monday in Week 10. The Bears embarrassed themselves offensively with 149 yards and just two third-down conversions. Chicago has looked much better on offence the past three weeks with Mitchell Trubisky back under centre and is now 4-2 with him as the starter in 2020 following Sunday’s blowout win over Houston. Minnesota might be looking for a new kicker this week after Dan Bailey missed three field goals and a PAT in Sunday’s loss at Tampa Bay.”
Pro Football Network: Bears 24, Vikings 21
“The Minnesota Vikings snapped a four-game losing streak in the NFC North head to head with their win over the Chicago Bears earlier in the 2020 NFL season. The Bears, however, snapped a losing streak of their own in Week 14. Mitchell Trubisky torched the Houston Texans to the tune of three touchdowns in the win and now faces a Vikings defense that’s given up the sixth-most passing yards per game this year.”
Sporting News: Vikings 24, Bears 17
“This serves as a pseudo wild-card elimination game for both 6-7 teams behind the Cardinals. The Vikings won the first meeting in November in Chicago, 19-13. They will have better success running the ball with Dalvin Cook in the home rematch and Justin Jefferson will continue to be a matchup nightmare in the downfield passing game. Mitchell Trubisky has provided a nice offensive spark for the Bears but here the zone scheming causes problems for him on the road.”
WSN: Take the Vikings to cover
“In an excellent Week 15 matchup to help determine one of the NFC Wildcard slots for the upcoming playoffs, the Chicago Bears try to prove that despite their shaky quarterback play from week to week, they have the level of offense to outscore a team like the Vikings while fielding a defense that can stop a QB like Kirk Cousins. The 6-7 Vikings are fortunate to still be in the playoff hunt, and a Week 14 win over these up and down Bears is a must if they expect to snag one of the three NFC Wildcard spots available, and since one of their main competitors for that spot is Chicago, a victory here seems absolutely critical. RB Dalvin Cook will be too much to handle for Chicago, and if not, Cousins will take over and get the job done.”
CBS Sports: Bears 23, Vikings 20
“I think Mike Zimmer is going to end up psyching himself out the first time the Vikings face anything longer than a fourth-and-2 in Chicago territory. Vikings kicker Dan Bailey has missed FIVE field goals over the past two weeks and Zimmer has clearly lost all faith in him, which is definitely going to lead to some awkward fourth down calls for Minnesota that will likely benefit the Bears.”
Fansided: Vikings 26, Bears 24
“This is do-or-die for these NFC North foes. The Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears currently sit in the No. 8 and No. 9 spots in the conference, respectively, meaning a loss could spell near elimination while a win could keep the window of opportunity open for another week or two. So who gets the victory in Week 15? You can call this bias if you want, but I’m giving the oh-so-subtle edge to the Minnesota Vikings. They’ve already taken down the Chicago Bears once this season, and have looked like the more complete team down the stretch. There are two main factors in my mind. The first is which Mitchell Trubisky comes to play. He was exceptional in Week 14 but remains all over the map. If the Vikings can get pressure on him early and force him into mistakes, his confidence will crumble. The second is that Minnesota needs to capitalize on opportunities when they arise — missing three field goals simply isn’t an option. Kirk Cousins steps up against a formidable Chicago defense, and Dalvin Cook has a much better game than the last time these two teams met. In the waning minutes, Minnesota’s defense gets a miraculous stop and keeps their slim changes of a playoff berth alive.”