The Chicago Bears already are NFC North champions and thus might have little motivation to put up much of a fight Sunday at division-rival Minnesota.
NFL Point Spread and Betting Analysis
Betting Week 17 NFL games is always a challenge because it’s vital to determine which teams have motivation and which don’t. The Chicago Bears are NFC North champions and all but locked into their playoff seeding. So, why could Coach Matt Nagy play any starters Sunday at Minnesota? Especially since these clubs could turn around and play each other on Wild-Card Weekend in the Windy City.
In Week 11, the Bears dominated the visiting Vikings 25-20 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score might indicate. Both teams had three turnovers, but the Bears made the most of their takeaways, including Pro Bowl safety Eddie Jackson returning a Kirk Cousins interception 27 yards for a touchdown and a 22-6 fourth-quarter lead.
Jackson won’t be playing this week as he’s dealing with an ankle injury and will rest up for the postseason. The Vikings made it respectable with two fairly meaningless touchdowns when Cousins inflated his numbers. He was terrible the first three quarters. The Vikings had just 22 yards rushing on 14 carries. Chicago QB Mitch Trubisky wasn’t much better in throwing for 165 yards with a TD and two picks.
Chicago is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings.
Chicago still has a shot at the No. 2 seed in the NFC and will be no worse than the No. 3. It needs a victory and Rams home loss to San Francisco, which is very unlikely. The Bears were in a potential trap game at the 49ers on Sunday but escaped with a 14-9 win. Trubisky threw for a score and Jordan Howard rushed for one, but the Bears were somewhat lucky in that two turnovers were overturned by review/penalty. Per usual the defence was the story as the Bears held the 49ers to 279 yards and had yet another interception. Chicago leads the league by a mile in that category. It will be interesting to see whether Matt Nagy plays all his key guys this week or he assumes the Rams are going to win and gets them some rest.
If the Vikings finish with the No. 6 seed in the NFC and the Bears stay at No. 3, they would play Wild-Card Weekend in Chicago. Minnesota gets a Wild-Card spot (could also be No. 5 seed depending) with a win here or a Philadelphia Eagles loss at the Washington Redskins. The Vikings fell behind the Lions 9-0 on Sunday in Detroit but would win 27-9. That game completely turned when Cousins hit tight end Kyle Rudolph on a Hail Mary TD pass to close the first half. Cousins had his best game in a about month in throwing for three scores and no interceptions. Rudolph had nine catches for 122 yards and two scores. Top cornerback Xavier Rhodes left in the fourth quarter with a groin injury.