Minnesota Vikings versus Chicago Bears: Which team will prevail and how does it complete the playoff picture?


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In this typical NFC North divisional rivalry, both teams have a lot to play for in this final regular season game. Chicago enters a 4.5 road underdog and have a shot at the number two seed, although they need a win and a collapse by the LA Rams against the 49ers.
Minnesota comes in off a win against the Lions, 24-9. They are 8-6-1 and will secure the last playoff spot in the NFC with a win. They also make the playoffs if the Eagles fall on the road in Washington.

There are several scenarios possible with regards to the playoff picture. Should the Bears win and Rams lose, the Bears get a first round bye. If the Rams win, Chicago is locked in as the three seed and play at home against either the Vikings (if they win of Eagles lose) or the Eagles (if they win and Minnesota loses), who have suddenly got hot at the right time.

Although the Bears are ninth in scoring, they live through a tenacious defense that has 46 sacks, 27 interceptions and multiple defensive touchdowns this season. On top of that, they give up just 81 yards on the ground, so the Vikings have their work cut out for them.
Minnesota has been tough on defense as well, ranked seventh in fewest points allowed. Danielle Hunter leads the pass rush with 14.5 sacks.
The Vikings could try to sustain a running game with Latavius Murray Dalvin cook, who have over 1100 yards on 4.3 per carry. However, if this is not effective, the Bears can supply full pass rushes, trying to force Cousins into mistakes.

Should Cousins have time to throw, look for Stefon Biggs and Adam Theilen to come to the forefront. They have combined for 204 receptions and 17 touchdowns. Watch for Aldrick Robins (five touchdowns) and tight end Kyle Rudolph to also see their share of targets.
Working on a short field certainly has helped the Bears frequently this season. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has thrown for 24 touchdowns and 3060 yards, while rushing for another 405. Chicago could try to control the clock on the ground with Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. Nevertheless, the Bears have a solid receiving group in Anthony Miller and Trey Burton, who have combined to score 13 touchdowns this season.
Due to multiple scenarios involved in this game, this is a difficult one to pick. The Vikings are still favorites, however down from being favored by 6.5 points to open. It's unlikely the Bears rest playing in what should be a typical, hard fought rivalry game. Going with a hunch, he Bears will edge the Vikings in this one. Don't be surprised to see a late field goal win this relatively low scoring game.

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