NFL Football Betting Preview
Minnesota Vikings (11-3) at Chicago Bears (5-9)
Monday December 28th, 8:30PM Eastern
Betus.com betting line – Vikings -7.5, 41 O/U
The Minnesota Vikings chances at home field advantage throughout the playoffs were kept alive this week thanks to the unlikely scenario in Tampa Bay handing the New Orleans Saints their 2nd straight loss. On the other hand, the Vikings could even miss out on a first round bye if they have any slip-ups in the final two weeks due to Philadelphia’s conference record. So needless to say the Vikings still have a lot to play for despite already being guaranteed a playoff position. However, they can make the road to the Super Bowl much easier with a few more needed victories and that road begins Monday night in Chicago.
The Bears have just fallen apart during the 2nd half of the season losing 6 of their last 7 games. Chicago was blow out by Baltimore last week 31-7 as QB Jay Cutler was held to just 94 passing yards. Cutler tossed 3 interceptions during the loss and those mistakes have occurred far too often in recent weeks. Cutler was brought to Chicago to end the quarterback controversy surrounding the Bears, but has just not delivered any answers. Cutler has thrown 13 interceptions in just the last 6 games, but he will be needed in a big way against a Vikings secondary that was torched by an inexperienced Matt Moore one week ago.
The Vikings will be entering the contest off that disappointing loss to Carolina last week by a final score of 26-7. As previously stated, Panthers QB Matt Moore threw for 299 yards and 3 touchdowns in his best game of the season. The loss exposed the Vikings secondary which was exposed just two weeks prior by Kurt Warner and the Cardinals who put up eerie similar numbers. The Bears offense now attempts to do the same and build some type of momentum heading into the off-season. Cutler definitely has the ability to put together big numbers, but he has thrown to many mistakes this year to be reliable.
However, it may not be Cutler who is the source of the problems. The Bears wide receivers lack the big time playmaker good quarterbacks need as a reliable outlet. Wide out Devin Hester has the speed to be a down field threat, but he and Cutler have just not been able to connect on the big passes. The only other target Cutler has had is former Vanderbilt teammate Earl Bennett who lacks big time speed, but can catch the ball really well. However, the Bears offense really needs one of their receivers to become the go to guy that Cutler can rely on in needed situations before the offense finds any answers to their struggles. Still, the Vikings secondary will give the Chicago pass offense the opportunity to put everything together. The question is can they put things together?
Over the past couple of weeks the Vikings offense has not been the quick scoring machine they once were earlier this year. The problem may be the running game where Adrian Peterson has been somewhat of a disappointment at time this year. In the Vikings last two losses, Peterson has just 54 yards combined. Of course Brett Farve has had a sensational year, but the offense needs their balance if they are going to be as dangerous as they were earlier in the year. An interesting statistic regarding Peterson is that the Vikings are 15-1 in their last 16 games their star running back has rushed for at least 80 yards or more. If the running game can get things rolling, it will allow Farve to be even more effective while attempting fewer amounts of throws.
The Vikings can win on Farve’s arm alone, but they do not need to be in that situation. The Bears rank a miserable 25th against the run allowing 128 yards per game and 4.4 yards per attempt. This will be the week that the Vikings keep focus on the ground game because Brad Childress will try to protect Farve from taking a beating which stirred up controversy a week ago. However, Farve will still get his chances to hook up with Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin down the field to pick up large chunks of yards. Just look for Peterson to carry the load.
Pick – Under 41