WEEK 17: Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings
Opponent Record: 3-8, fourth in NFC North
What to look out for:
The Chicago Bears are still the same team we saw in Week 5 when Mitchell Trubisky made his first career start with the team. Basically, they rely on playing good defense and running the ball with Jordan Howard. While the strategy hasn’t paid off in their 3-8 record, they do have the twelfth-ranked defense and Howard is well on his way to another 1,000-yard season. Specifically, he has run the ball 212 times for 885 yards and five touchdowns.
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Keys to victory:
The Minnesota Vikings simply have to key in on stopping the run and getting an early lead to force Trubisky to throw the football. Basically, the Bears’ rookie quarterback hasn’t proved he can win a game with his arm. As matter of fact, he’s only broken the 200-yard mark once, a 297-yard performance against the Green Bay Packers in Week 10. A game they ended up losing 23-16. So, if the Vikings push the Bears to rely on their passing offense, the Vikings are in fantastic position to win as long as the offense continues to do their thing.
Score Prediction: 31-14 Vikings
Simply, there’s too much star power on the Vikings offense and defense for the Bears to keep up. The Vikings finish the season 14-2.
From an outsiders perspective, Minnesota has a favorable schedule down the stretch and a real chance of finishing the year as the no. 1 seed in the NFC at 14-2. Even so, there’s never an easy game in the NFL, so the Vikings have to continue putting their foot on the gas pedal over the final quarter of the season. When it’s all said and done though, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if the Vikings indeed finish 14-2 and ride a 12-game win streak into the playoffs given the way Mike Zimmer has this squad playing.