Monday Night Football Preview
By: Will Kay (@WillyKay91)
This weeks Monday Night Football features an NFC North match-up between the division leading Minnesota Vikings (5-1 ) and cellar-dwelling Chicago Bears (1-6) on Halloween night in Chicago. Minnesota is coming off a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, while Chicago is mired in a three game losing streak.
TopBet currently has Minnesota listed as a six point favorite. The over/under is currently listed at 40.5 points,and there is currently no money line available.
The spread appears to favor the Bears more than it should. Minnesota currently boasts a top-three NFL defense, allowing just 81.7 rushing yards (3rd), 197.8 passing yards (4th), 279.5 total yards per game (1st), and 14 points per game (2nd). This does not bode well for a Bears offense that ranks last in the NFL with just 15.9 points per game.
Quarterback Jay Cutler is set to return from injury and start under center for the Bears, but Cutler has looked less than stellar in his limited game action this season. The match-up couldn’t be worse for him either. Minnesota lock-down cornerback Xavier Rhodes will likely have number one receiver Alshon Jeffery blanketed for most of the game. Cameron Meredith has recently emerged as an option for Cutler, but he will likely be no match for Minnesota’s elite secondary.
Running back Jeremy Langford should also return after a 3 game absence due to an ankle injury. Jordan Howard had been seeing the lion’s share of carries with Langford sidelined, so it will be interesting to see how carries between the two are split. Regardless, neither of them are likely to find much room against the Vikings formidable defensive line. Even if they do, the duo will also have to go through linebackers Eric Kendricks and Chad Greenway.
The Bears Appear To Be In For One Tough Evening
Things look much better for the Vikings offense. After they lost quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and running back Adrian Peterson to injury, nobody expected the Vikings to be sitting atop the division. Stellar play by quarterback Sam Bradford has helped to ease the loss of Bridgewater. Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata have shared caries and filled in well for Peterson.
Still, Bradford was sacked six times by the Eagles last week. This wasn’t necessarily his fault though. The Vikings offensive line will have to be much better against the Bears, who surprisingly rank 10th in sacks this season. Aside from a strong pass rush, Chicago’s defense has been middling at best.
The bears have allowed 107 rushing yards per game (17th). For a run first team like Minnesota, this is a very beatable defense on the ground. The Bears are also just average against the pass, allowing 243.4 yards per game (16th). Combined, this contributes to a below average 24.1 points against per game (20th).
In their past nine trips to Soldier field, the Vikings are 7-2. If everything goes according to plan, they are looking at improving that record to 8-2.
Prediction: Vikings 24 Bears 10