(9-4, 6-6-1 ATS)
(5-8, 4-9 ATS)
For the first time in decades, the Minnesota Vikings will be playing an open air home game. They were forced to move to the University of Minnesota for Monday Night Football this week, as Mall of America Field is still nowhere near ready for action. In the home finale, the Vikes will welcome the Chicago Bears to town for NFL betting action.
The Bears could virtually put the NFC North to rest on Monday night with a win and can move one step closer towards getting a bye in the first round of the playoffs. Last week’s loss to the New England Patriots scratched controlling their own destiny, but the Bears still know that they are likely to be able to get the job done at 12-4 on the campaign. This still isn’t exactly a team that is running on all cylinders right now, as the offense is only averaging 291.5 yards per game, No. 30 in the league, and there won’t be a 1,000 yard rusher or receiver on the team this year. QB Jay Cutler is 303 yards shy of 3,000 for the season, and though he isn’t throwing for as many yards as expected, at least he isn’t turning the ball over all that much… in relation to last year. Still, fans in the Windy City know that the defense is the key to winning games nowadays, and it will be the only chance that the squad has of winning the Super Bowl. This unit ranks No. 8 in the NFL overall at 313.8 yards per game, and even after last week’s beat down at the hands of the Pats, it is No. 3 in scoring at 17.5 points per game.
QB Tarvaris Jackson is on IR. QB Brett Favre has probably taken the final snaps of his career. Needless to say, right now, you don’t want to be a quarterback in Minnesota. QB Joe Webb is going to be the man getting the nod on MNF for his first career start, which is usually a recipe for disaster. Rookies, save QB Sam Bradford, have not fared well at all when called upon this year as starters, and the oddsmakers are fairly certain than Webb isn’t going to have any better results. We don’t know whether this kid has the potential to really round into an NFL quarterback or not, but we do know that he is a gamer from his days with the UAB Blazers. He’ll need a lot of help from a defense that ranks No. 7 in the league at 313.6 yards per game. The problem has been points allowed, many of which the offense has had a hand in, unfortunately. Allowing 21.1 points per game is a paltry No. 16 in the league, and when you have an offense that, when healthy, is still only averaging 17.7 points per game, that’s why your team has been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
It’s just impossible to back the Vikes, even “at home,” and even catching nine points. We just have to roll with the punches with the Bears and cross our fingers that their offense figures it out. Earlier this year, they beat the Miami Dolphins with their third string QB 16-0, and we hope that we see the same sort of result on MNF this weekend.
Pro Football Free Pick: Chicago Bears -9