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MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on from the field during the second quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Rams at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 26, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo : Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
An NFC North matchup will be heading our way in Week 18 as the Minnesota Vikings host the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Who will reign supreme in this divisional clash? Here’s a preview of the Bears vs Vikings matchup.
Chicago Bears installed as +5 underdogs
The Chicago Bears will head to their showdown with the Minnesota Vikings with momentum on their side after beating the New York Giants, 29-3, in Week 17. The Bears have now won two games in a row as they improved their record for the season to 6-10.
Andy Dalton got the start in Week 17, completing 18 of 35 passes for 173 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Darnell Mooney was his favorite target, catching seven passes for 69 yards and a score. David Montgomery did some damage on the ground, running for 64 yards and a couple of touchdowns on 22 carries.
It looks like Dalton will once again be the Bears starting quarterback in Week 18 after Justin Fields was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday, January 6. After missing the Bears’ last two games because of an ankle injury, he had just returned to full practice and was on track to start their finale against Minnesota. It has been a rough season for Fields in his rookie year, with the Bears going just 2-8 with him as their starting quarterback.
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Minnesota Vikings enter Week 18 as -5 favorites
Minnesota’s late-season woes continued in Week 17, with the Vikings suffering a 37-10 defeat at the hands of the Green Bay Packers. They have lost four of their last six games, including their last two outings. The loss to Green Bay all but ended Minnesota’s hopes of reaching the playoffs this season.
It was a disappointing end to the season for the Vikings, who featured in an NFL-high 14 games that were decided by one score. Minnesota went 6-8 in those kinds of games this season. The Vikings featured in six games with a margin of three points or less, with Minnesota posting a 2-4 slate in those types of outings.
Kirk Cousins returns as the Vikings’ starting quarterback after missing the Week 17 loss to the Packers because of COVID-19. In that encounter, the Vikings sorely missed his services, racking up just 206 total yards with Sean Mannion under center. He completed 22 of 36 passes for 189 yards with one touchdown and no interception in the loss to Green Bay.
Cousins’ absence came at a very bad time for the Vikings, who needed a victory against Green Bay to keep their playoff hopes alive. What the Vikings got was a mighty beatdown instead, as they were eliminated from playoff contention in back-to-back seasons for the first time in Mike Zimmer’s tenure.
The game against the Bears might be the last for Zimmer, whose head coaching job in Minnesota is now definitely hanging in the balance. Zimmer has posted a 71-56-1 record with a 2-3 slate in the playoffs through eight seasons with the Vikings.
Minnesota wins and covers the spread.
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