The NFL week 17 NFC free pick might have had great value with the Vikings -6 vs. Chicago at U.S Bank Stadium regardless of the playoff scenarios. The home team is 23-9 ATS the last 32 meetings between the two teams. Chicago could come out blazing as they have an outside chance at a 1st round bye if the Rams lose today. The Vikings have no choice but to win as a loss combined with a Philadelphia victory would knock Minnesota out of the postseason. The big question – how much of a fight do the Bears put up today?
Chicago Could Rest Key Players – Especially in the 2nd Half
Bears coach Matt Nagy has his eyes on big things for the Bears this postseason and he’s a guy that doesn’t like to take unnecessary risks with his players’ health. Chicago benched their starters with two weeks left in the preseason. Nagy also held Mitch Trubisky out of a winnable game vs. the Giants as the starting QB rested an injured shoulder – a shoulder hurt vs. these Vikings by the way. Even if the Bears win in the NFL week 17 NFC free pick, they’d need a loss by the Rams to get the #2 seed. The Rams are -10.5 favorites at home vs. San Francisco by the way.
Another factor that could have Chicago laying off the gas today is that they might meet Minnesota next week regardless. If the Bears beat the Vikings, but Philadelphia loses at Washington then Minnesota would hold on to the final wild card spot. Wouldn’t Nagy be wise to save up not only key plays – but key players such as Khalil Mack, Trubisky, Akiem Hicks, Tarik Cohen, etc. to get the win next week?
Sounds like the Rams game will have to get really out of hand for the #Bears to sit starters later in today’s game.
I like the approach, personally. https://t.co/VeVhM4cLwh
— Aaron Leming (@AaronLemingNFL) December 30, 2018
Vikings Don’t Want to Take Any Chances Today
Minnesota has to pull out all the stops today. There’s no sense saving anything in your playbook for next week if their isn’t a next week. The Vikings have gone 3-3 down the stretch but still control their own destiny. Chicago defensive coordinator Vic Fangio did a great job gameplanning vs. Minnesota in the 1st meeting. The Bears won that game 25-20 holding the Vikings to 14 carries for 22 yards on the ground while forcing three turnovers. Kirk Cousins did have a solid outing with 262 and 2 TD, but he also threw two picks and it took 46 attempts to get that yardage.
There should be a raucous home crowd for Minnesota in the NFL week 17 NFC free pick as this essentially becomes a playoff game – win and advance. The Vikings defense has held four of the last five opponents to 21 points or less. Chase Daniel could see a lot of the time under center for the Bears if Trubisky sits. Daniel is an adequate starter, but Minnesota should have a huge edge with the Chicago backup in the game. Nagy is also the kind of coach that will run halfback passes and triple reverses just so Minnesota has something extra to game plan for in a potential rematch next week. Those don’t always work.
NFL Week 17 NFC Free Pick Betting
To handicap this game requires first breaking down the Rams / 49ers contest. If LA is losing, Chicago is definitely going to go for the win as a 1st round bye is absolutely worth the risk. The Rams should (should) be able to handle the 49ers however which means the Bears will ease up on the reigns a bit. Minnesota takes advantage in a big way if that happens, going for the blowout win so that they have momentum and confidence for next week’s wild card rematch.
NFC Free Pick: Minnesota Vikings -6