The two teams in the middle of the NFC North standings will face off under the bright lights of “Monday Night Football” when the Chicago Bears welcome the Minnesota Vikings to Soldier Field. The Vikings (6-7) are among a group of five teams tied in record terms for the last NFC wild-card spot, but are currently behind Washington due to a tiebreaker (best conference game winning percentage). Meanwhile, the Bears (4-9) They have lost seven of their last eight games and simply need a win to boost team morale.
Chicago has a chance to ruin the playoff hopes of a division rival, but the Bears they’re dealing with a ton of injuries, they have over a dozen players on the Reserve / COVID-19 roster, and all three coordinators are on protocols as well. Remember, three other games have already been rescheduled this week due to a league-wide COVID outbreak.
Time and Channel Bears vs Vikings
Beginning: Monday, December 20 at 5:15 pm PT / 8:15 pm ET in the United States. 7:15 pm in Mexico.
TV: ESPN in the United States and Mexico.
Spread: Vikings -3.5
Three things to keep in mind
1.- Are you gaining momentum from a loss?
Despite the Bears They lost comfortably, 45-30, in Green Bay last Sunday night, it was actually several positive aspects of their effort. First, they scored a season-high 30 points against the team that is currently the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and even led 27-21 at halftime. Justin fields and Jakeem Grant Sr. were among the individual featured artists.
In his first game since injuring his ribs in Week 11 against Baltimore, Fields he recorded 224 passing yards with a pair of long touchdowns and also led all players in rushing with 74 yards on nine carries. He returned the ball three times (two interceptions) and was sacked twice, but his ability to make plays was the reason Chicago led this game at halftime. Fields’ two strikes were 54 and 46 yards. Grant, who was acquired in a trade with Miami in October, was on the other end of the longest and also returned a 97-yard punt for a touchdown, the longest in Bears history.
The defense kept the Packers scoreless in the first quarter, but Aaron Rodgers and company got things started and dominated the second half, outscoring the visitors 24-3. The defensive of Chicago He was already understaffed without Khalil Mack or Akiem Hicks and linebacker Roquan Smith also compounded his hamstring injury, so his status for Monday is something to watch out for.
After a productive first half, Fields and the offense couldn’t handle much in their units, churning out 80 yards in the final two quarters combined. Fields he also threw a pick-six in the latter part of the second quarter that gave Green Bay its first lead, 14-10. Despite the mistakes, the ability to make plays of Fields (12.4 yards per completion, 8.2 yards per carry) was certainly encouraging, as were the two long scoring plays.
Fields and company should have a chance to score some points against a defense of Minnesota who is giving up 382 yards per game (29th in the NFL) and has been susceptible to both passing (251.9 ypg, 25 °) and running (129.5 ypg, 24th). ). The Vikings are also giving up 26 points per contest (22nd). Minnesota has the most productive passing career in the league (41 sacks), but the mobility of Fields can help offset that. David montgomery is also someone with whom D of the Vikings will have to deal with, as the Bears They are seventh in the league in rushing with 126 yards per game.
The biggest concern for Chicago It’s with a defense that wore out drastically last week against the Packers and won’t be anywhere near full strength Monday night. Seven defenders were on the Reserve / COVID-19 list as of Saturday and five more were on Friday’s injury report. Hicks appears to be on his way back, but three defensive linemen, including Eddie Goldman and Mario Edwards Jr., and three defensive running backs, including safety. Eddie jackson, are on COVID protocols, and Smith continues to deal with his hamstring injury.
It will take all sane defenders of Bear to try to stop Dalvin cook from Minnesota, who is third in the league with 978 rushing yards after hitting Pittsburgh for 205 yards (with two TDs) Thursday night, despite playing with an injured shoulder. Kirk cousins He’s setting up another solid season with 3,569 passing yards (sixth), 27 touchdowns (tied for sixth) and just five interceptions, but pass protection will be key as he doesn’t have as much mobility as Fields. Chicago is tied for fourth in the NFL with 36 sacks, while Cousins He has lost 18 times. In general, Vikings they’re averaging about 390 yards and 27 points per game, which means this would be a challenge for the D Bears even if it was complete. And it certainly won’t be that on Monday night.
2.- The Vikings roller coaster season
Season of Minnesota it can be better summed up like this. All but one of the games of the Vikings have decided on a score. Considering they are 5-7 in these contests, you can understand why the fanbase is frustrated.
Take last week, for example. Although Vikings they won 36-28 over Pittsburgh at home, led this game 23-0 at halftime and were up 29-0 at the end of the third quarter. And don’t forget that the week before, Minnesota it rallied from a 14-point deficit at halftime against Detroit to take a 27-23 lead with less than two minutes remaining. But the defense couldn’t stop the Lions from advancing along the field as the 11-yard touchdown pass from Jared goff when time expired he gave his team their first win and the only win of the season thus far.
But there is more. In Week 12, a 14-14 halftime draw on the road against San Francisco turned into an eventual 49ers victory 34-26 as the offense delivered the ball twice late in the fourth quarter. And this was preceded by a back-and-forth encounter with Green Bay at home that saw Aaron Rodgers tie the game at 31 with a 75-yard touchdown pass with just over two minutes remaining. This time, Cousins And company didn’t blink, driving 64 yards on eight plays to set up Greg Joseph’s game-winning 29-yard field goal on the final play.
And that’s just the most recent four-game stretch. Earlier this season there was the Week 1 overtime loss to Cincinnati, a last-second field goal that cost Minnesota a road win against Arizona, and an equally painful overtime loss in Baltimore in Week 9 that saw the Vikings make a 14-point lead in the third quarter, then send the game into extra period with a late touchdown, only to lose on a late field goal.
Minnesota He has walked a fine line this season and is right now outside looking towards a playoff spot because of it. If the Vikings they want to stay on the hunt, they will have to do a better job protecting potential clients when they get them. A defeat on Monday night, even on the way to the Bears, could be the proverbial nail in the coffin for the team… and their head coach.
3.- Coaches on the bench
Speaking of Mike zimmer, both he and his counterpart, Matt nagyThey have been hot topics in recent weeks, and not in a good way. Job security for both head coaches can be described as weak at best. Depending on who you listen to, it’s just a matter of when and not if they fire Nagy, and it’s something that fans of Bears They definitely want to watch as they are fed up with their struggles with game planning, play calls, decision making, and seemingly endless struggles at quarterback.
It has not helped that the defense has regressed since the departure of the former defensive coordinator. Vic Fangio. And to be fair, general manager Ryan Pace is under the same scrutiny, so there may be changes on the way for this franchise.
Meanwhile, fans of the Vikings They are also fed up with Zimmer for a variety of reasons. As a defensive-minded coach, the defense of Minnesota It has gone in the wrong direction in recent seasons. When he first took office in 2014, the Vikings they finished in the league’s top 10 in total defense three times, but the last was in 2018. They currently rank near the bottom in three of the top four categories.
The offense has also been inconsistent, although many would like to assign most of the blame to Cousins. Minnesota He is 70-54-1 under Zimmer with three playoff appearances. The last one was in 2018 and the Vikings They are 13-16 since then. The Jekyll and Hyde nature of the team and the late-game misadventures this season certainly haven’t helped the Zimmer case and it’s worth wondering if it’s time for a leadership change.
Minnesota he’s still very much alive for a playoff spot, so Zimmer still has a tangible opportunity to prove he’s the right man for the job. Nagy, on the other hand, he may be training the chain if some of the reports that have come out are true. Either way, it seems both fan bases are more than ready to move on.
Chicago Bears vs Minnesota Vikings LIVE
Chicago have won five of the last six games in their rivalry with Minnesota, but the Vikings They have all the momentum going into the Monday night meeting. The Bears they have lost seven of eight games and their only win in this stretch was against humble Detroit. However, the only team the Lions have defeated so far this season is Minnesota, which they did two weeks ago.
But leaving aside that anomaly, the Vikings enter this game in much better form as far as the list, since the Bears they are dealing with a number of injuries and they also have a ton of players (and coaches) on the Reserve / COVID-19 roster. In a nutshell, Chicago it doesn’t have enough manpower to survive Minnesota in four quarters.
Prediction: Vikings 27, Bears 20
Tags: Bears vs Vikings, Chicago Bears, Chicago Bears vs Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Vikings Last modified: December 19, 2021
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Chicago Bears vs Minnesota Vikings LIVE Time, Channel, Where to watch Week 15 NFL 2021