Minnesota doesn’t have a whole lot of incentive to win in the NFL week 17 Bears at Vikings free pick. There’s the matter of pride of beating a division rival at home, but if the Vikings are looking at the big picture then resting for the playoffs would be their best bet. Win or lose, Minnesota is slotted into the 6th playoff spot in the NFC. The Bears are thus a -3 favorite on Sunday.
Can Chicago Finish Strong?
It’s been a very up-and-down season for Chicago on both sides of the ball. Even so, the Bears were making a late season run at a potential playoff spot until losses to Green Bay and Kansas City in the last two weeks derailed those hopes. Matt Nagy’s offense looking especially underwhelming the last two weeks is what gives Minnesota hope in the NFL week 17 Bears at Vikings free pick.
Minnesota may sit some of their key offensive players but it could be all hands on deck for the defense. The Vikings #6 defense in points against would then face a Chicago offense that has scored a total of 16 points the last two weeks. Mitchell Trubisky has under a 65.5 QB rating in both of those losses. Minnesota did allow 184 yards on the ground at home to Green Bay on Monday though.
The good thing for the Chicago offense is that they may not need much here. Minnesota could play their offensive starters to shake out some of the rust of producing just 139 total yards against Green Bay. If not though the Bears defense will be up against backup signal caller Sean Mannion whose next pass will be his first of the season.
Vikings in a Throwaway Game?
Barring any last minute change of mind by coach Mike Zimmer, it’s likely that Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook sit this game out. Adam Thielen has just worked his way back from injury and a week off in a meaningless game wouldn’t hurt either. Minnesota will also likely be without backup RB Alexander Mattison (ankle) which would toss Mike Boone into the starting role once again (32 carries, 125 yards on the year).
The bad news for the Vikings is that they’ve struggled vs. the Bears defense even when fully healthy. Chicago has taken the last three meetings between these division rivals with Minnesota averaging just 12ppg scored. That includes a 16-6 win in late September in which the Vikings had just 40 net rushing yards and 182 through the air. Sunday’s matchup has a total of just 35.5 but this looks to be a very low scoring contest.
NFL Week 17 Bears at Vikings Free Pick
It’s hard to see Minnesota putting up any sort of fight in this one – or even caring that they don’t. This is a team looking forward while the Bears need the win to get to a somewhat respectable .500 on the season. Chicago doesn’t have a #1 draft pick next season, so a loss doesn’t even help them in that regard. If the Bears look awful in this one vs. a skeleton Minnesota squad, there’s an outside chance Nagy and GM Ryan Pace lose their jobs. They’ll make sure to take that question out of the equation.
Free Pick: Bears -3