Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears
Date and Time: Monday, October 31, 2016, 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
Week 8 NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Vikings -5.5, 41
Vikings vs. Bears TV Coverage: ESPN
When you put the 2016-17 Minnesota Vikings under the microscope, what you’ll find is a flawed team that has some exceptional parts and other parts you’d most definitely like to see improved. The offense has been pretty bad, but has been bailed out by a defense that just might be the best the league has to offer.
The Vikings are averaging less than 300 yards of total offense, yet score an average of 21.5 points per game and own an the No. 7 ranked offensive yards per point average. That due in large part is because of the defense and special teams which have set the unit up with fabulous field position with huge returns and a league-high 16 takeaways. The offense could once again have its hands full in this one against a Chicago defense conceding just 350.4 total yards per game (No. 12).
Then again maybe not considering Chicago has turned the ball over nine times and looks to be getting Jay Cutler back after a five week hiatus due to a sprained thumb on his throwing hand. The Bears offense excelled while he was on the sideline, so it will be interesting to see how the unit reacts with him back under center.
If the first two weeks are any type of indicator, the boo birds will likely be out in force with him struggling to get much done against the league’s No. 4 ranked passing defense. It won’t be any easier on the ground for the likes of Jordan Howard, Kadeem Carey, or Jeremy Langford who might be able to give it a go this week. The Vikings allow just 81.7 rushing yards per game (No. 3) at 3.7 yards per carry. Scoring on Minnesota will be a tough chore for the Bears inefficient attack.
Player to Watch
Stefon Diggs – Since combining for 16 receptions and 285 yards with a touchdown the first two weeks of the season, the Vikings No. 1 wide receiver has been missing in action for the better part of the last month. While a groin injury was likely to blame, there will be no excuses this week after he was able to partake in the majority of the Eagles game without incident.
Philadelphia loaded up the box and dared the Vikings offense to beat them through the air last week. The end result was less than 100 yards rushing and another mediocre outing from Sam Bradford. Chicago has given up its fair share of yardage through the air the last few weeks, so if the Vikings are to extend that trend, Diggs is going to have to finally show up like he did the last time he played at Soldier Field where he went for 95 yards and a touchdown.
Vikings vs. Bears Free Picks
With the Cubs in the World Series for the first time in 71 years, absolutely nobody is paying attention to the Bears right now. And why should they considering they’ve only won a single game and could be better off tanking the rest of the season so as to guarantee themselves one of the top three picks in next year’s NFL draft.
Minnesota has won three in a row and four of the last five in the recent rivalry. They covered the closing odds at Bookmaker.eu in both meetings last season to snap their seven game losing streak at Soldier Field. With the Vikes off their first defeat of the season and the Bears simply in disarray due to poor play and injury, I can’t help but think this is a get well spot to turn the page on last week’s disappointment by taking it to a Bears team that simply doesn’t have the offense to do much of anything against what will no doubt be a pissed off Minnesota defense.
Vikings vs. Bears ATS Pick: Vikings -5.5 at BookMaker.eu
Vikings vs. Bears Score Prediction: Vikings 27 – Bears 9