According to reports, John Fox is taking the field for the last time on Sunday as the head coach of the Chicago Bears. Fox fielded last place teams in the NFC North in all three of his seasons at the helm of the Bears and has a 14-33 record with the team. Having a lame duck coach should definitely affect the NFL week 17 free total pick. Minnesota is heading to the postseason for the second time with coach Mike Zimmer but the Vikings need a win Sunday to clinch a bye next week. Oddsmakers have set the total at 38.5, down from the 40 it opened at.
Chicago Offense Plus Minnesota Defense Ripe for an ‘Under?’
If there was ever a time for the ultra-conservative John Fox to let his proverbial hair down, it’s in what could be his last game as an NFL head coach. Chicago has scored more than 20 points just once in the past five weeks and rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has just three total TD passes over that span. The Bears will likely once again turn to the run game, because that’s how Fox rolls. RB Jordan Howard is capable of breakout games (147 yards and 2TD in week 14) but has eclipsed 50 yards on the ground just once over the past five.
Hindering the Bears offensive attack in the NFL week 17 free total pick is of course the Minnesota defense. The Vikings are 6-1 at home on the year which includes dominating the #1 scoring LA Rams 24-7 in Week 11. The Vikings defensive unit is #1 in total yards versus and points against and #2 in passing and rushing yards allowed. Chicago ranks 30th in total offense, 2nd to last in passing, and 3rd worse in points scored. Another note which could lead to an ‘under’ play is that the Bears have struggled in the kicking game, making just over 70% of their field goals this season.
Adam Shaheen’s rookie season is over, and the Bears will be without Josh Sitton and Bobby Massie against the Vikings defense. https://t.co/LitTceGiPG
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) December 31, 2017
Is an ‘Over’ Wager a Gutsy One?
The number is set at only 38.5 for the NFL week 17 free total pick but do the Bears score at all in this game? John Fox should be attacking his final game like he’s playing Madden – going for it on 4th and 16 from his own territory and leveling the Minnesota defense with a heavy dose of flea flickers. Being indoors at Minnesota, where it’s -15 today definitely helps the Chicago offense, but then again the crowd noise is a hindrance. This is a huge game for the Vikings who need a win to clinch a first round bye so expect the fans to be loud and proud, especially with the ‘buzz’ of New Year’s Eve in the air.
Of course Minnesota’s offense can lead the charge towards an ‘over’ in this total play. The Vikings have scored 24+ points in seven of their last nine games. The Bears have a top 10 defense but Minnesota is also 10th in yards gained and points scored. The Vikings won the first matchup of this season 20-17 in Chicago – a low scoring game that was still just 1.5 points off today’s total. Minnesota quarterback Case Keenum had his lowest passing total of the season in that contest (Sam Bradford got the start but left) and the Vikes ran for 159 on grass againstChicago’s #9 rush defense. Trubisky and the Chicago punter both threw TDs in that game while Jordan Howard ran for 76 yards.
I hope #DaBears come out and play today for John fox as he’s well liked in the locker room and the players know this is it for him. Although I expect the Vikings to win as they have something to play for, I think the bears keep it close. #Bears #bearstalk
— Michael J. Smash (@TheChicagoSmash) December 31, 2017
NFL Week 17 Free Total Pick
These obvious lose situations to get a better draft pick are ones in which Chicago usually pulls out their best game of the season. The Bears can pick somewhere between 6th and 12th depending on how today plays out which means we could have a close division game on our hands in the NFL week 17 free total pick. The Bears may even play inspired ball to send Fox out in style. Either way, the Vikings will get their points possibly putting up as many as 30 points on their own. This means any production from Chicago could push this total ‘over’ and the Bears should be relaxed today.
Pick: Chicago Bears / Minnesota Vikings ‘Over’ 38.5