The Chicago Bears game against the Minnesota Vikings today likely holds more significance to the team than next week’s game against the Green Bay Packers. The game against the Packers next week for the Bears likely has division implications. Though, those implications would only arise if the Bears can defeat the Vikings on Sunday. The Bears game against the Vikings on Sunday likely has playoff implications for the Bears.
As things currently stand, the Bears are the fifth seed in the NFC conference as the highest wild-card team, and the Seattle Seahawks are the sixth seed in the NFC conference as the second wild card team in the conference. If the Bears were to lose today against the Vikings and the Seahawks were to defeat the Arizona Cardinals, that would then propel the Seahawks ahead of the Bears as the fifth seed in the NFC conference and the Bears would be the lowest playoff seed in the NFC conference. Such a position would leave the Bears vulnerable to teams such as the Vikings, Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
When the Bears played the Vikings two weeks ago, it was a game that the Bears controlled through the running game. Behind the efforts of Michael Bush, the Bears defeated the Vikings 28-10. This game though will have a much different look. The biggest difference is that the Bears will be without starting middle linebacker Brian Urlacher. Urlacher has not be 100% this season, though, it does not appear likely that Nick Roach will rival the same production level that Urlacher had this season. Geno Hayes will replace Roach at the outside linebacker position, and there will be a drop in production from that position as well. Meaning the injury to Urlacher has left two positions vulnerable. The Bears will also be without cornerback Tim Jennings and wide receiver Earl Bennett. Expect Vikings’ running back and MVP-favorite Adrian Peterson to take advantage of the Bears’ injuries on defense. Peterson fumbled the ball twice two weeks ago against the Bears, so he may be playing with an edge against the Bears’ defense on Sunday.
I would expect the Bears to implement the same strategy on offense. That strategy featuring a dependence on both Matt Forte and Michael Bush. That strategy worked two weeks ago for the Bears against the Vikings, and should work again today. Though, today’s game will mark the first time since week 5 that both quarterback Jay Cutler and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery are active. Cutler showed an early preference for Jeffery before the receiver fractured his hand, and the rookie receiver likely will provide an ideal secondary option for Cutler. Though, make no mistake about it, the Bears’ passing offense still goes through receiver Brandon Marshall.
The prediction here is that the Bears defeat the Vikings for the second time in three weeks.
NFL Week 14 Predictions:
- The St Louis Rams over the Buffalo Bills
- The Cincinnati Bengals over the Dallas Cowboys
- The Cleveland Browns over the Kansas City Chiefs
- The Indianapolis Colts defeat the Tennessee Titans
- The Pittsburgh Steelers over San Diego Chargers
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the Philadelphia Eagles
- The Washington Redskins over the Baltimore Ravens
- The Atlanta Falcons over the Carolina Panthers
- The New York Jets over the Jacksonville Jaguars
- The San Francisco 49ers over the Miami Dolphins
- The New Orleans Saints over the New York Giants
- The Seattle Seahawks over the Arizona Cardinals
- The Green Bay Packers over the Detroit Lions
- The New England Patriots over the Houston Texans