NFL Week 18 Bears at Vikings Betting Preview
Two Head Coaches Likely Wrapping Up Their Tenures
The week 18 Bears at Vikings betting matchup should be the last go-around for both teams’ head coaches. Matt Nagy is likely done in Chicago win or lose, wrapping up four years on the sidelines in which his team’s posted a 34-32 record (12 of those wins came in 2018).
Mike Zimmer’s job is also in doubt, although he has the better opportunity of the two to be retained. Zimmer has been with Minnesota since 2014, but has only three playoff appearances in those 8 years. Both coaches likely being lame ducks makes this game a little more interesting, and the Vikings being a -4 point favorite seems like a guess for oddsmakers.
Dalton Back in for Chicago
Very few teams have rotated quarterbacks as much as Chicago has the last three weeks. Nick Foles led the team to a 25-24 win in Seattle in week 15 but then Andy Dalton was back under center for last Sunday’s 29-3 win over the Giants. Nagy was set to go with rookie Justin Fields in the week 18 Bears at Vikings betting matchup but he has landed on the COVID list so it’s Dalton in for what is likely his last game with Chicago.
Dalton has some incentive here as he auditions for another one year, $10 million deal if not in Chicago then somewhere else. He was just 18/35 last week against a Giants squad that has punched out for weeks now, throwing 1 TD and 1 INT. Minnesota held Matthew Stafford to 197 yards passing with 1 TD and 3 INT in their last home game so Dalton has his work cut out for him on Sunday.
David Montgomery ran for 2 TDs last week against New York, but that was largely aided by early turnovers from the Giants that gave Chicago great field position. That means the Bears are likely going to have to win this one with their defense – one that held New York to minus 11 yards passing last week.
How Motivated is Minnesota?
By all accounts Zimmer is a well respected guy, but there is no way his tenure in Minnesota could be looked at as anything other than underachieving. Kirk Cousins is going to post a second straight 4,000+ yard passing season with 65 TD / 20 INT over that span, Dalvin Cook has ran for 2,500+ yards the last two seasons, Justin Jefferson has close to 3,000 receiving yards over the last two years, and Adam Thielen has 24 TD catches over that span – and Minnesota has still missed the postseason in both seasons.
How much do Cousins, Cook, or Jefferson play against the Bears? Cook and Jefferson are valuable pieces for Minnesota’s future and Cousins could be trade bait in the offseason so you want them all healthy. Then again even with something to play for back in week 15 Minnesota still managed under 200 total yards albeit in a 17-9 win in Chicago.
Free Week 18 Bears at Vikings Betting Preview
Minnesota looked checked out last week in a 37-10 loss to Green Bay last week but Aaron Rodgers and Co. have a tendency to do that to most teams. Sean Mannion also started at QB in that game with Cousins on the COVID list, but that doesn’t excuse the Packers running for 174 yards and throwing for 307. This still feels like a field goal game though.
Bears 24 – Vikings 27
Free Pick: Bears +4.5