Minnesota Vikings (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS) vs. Chicago Bears (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS)
NFL Week 5
Date/Time: Monday Night Football, October 9, 2017 at 8:30PM EST
Where: Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MIN -3/CHI +3
Over/Under Total: 40
The Minnesota Vikings come to Soldier Field to face the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. This NFC North battle figures to be an interesting contest. The Bears have been plucky in spots, but look for better QB play this week and will be starting their number-two overall pick Mitch Trubisky. The Vikes are hoping to get Sam Bradford in there after losing to Detroit last week, 14-7, to fall to 2-2. Who can leave Soldier Field with the big MNF win?
The Vikings looked great to open the season, but the injury bug has become a real problem. After looking great, we started to hear about more knee issues for Bradford. Now, Dalvin Cook has gone down with a season-ending ACL injury, just as the dynamic rookie back was starting to showcase his wares. They now need to rely on RB Latavius Murray, who still isnt fully-recovered from an offseason ankle surgery. But at least it looks like Bradford is ready to step back in there soon, with this week being a possibility, according to head coach Mike Zimmer.
In replacement of Bradford, Case Keenum hasnt been too bad. He isnt able to extract as much from the players around him as consistently as Bradford, but hes at least been efficient. The run-duties will fall on Murray and Jerick McKinnon (questionable). And in Murray, the Vikes have a former 1000-yard rusher in a relief role, which could prove to be fortunate. Receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen have been fairly productive and they could get a boost from the return of WR Michael Floyd, who returns this week from suspension.
While the Minnesota offense struggles with personnel, the bulk of the Vikings success falls on the shoulders of the defense. In the past few games, they have given up a total of 31 points and thats with an offense that hasnt been moving the ball that well. In the secondary, Andrew Sendejo, Harrison Smith, Trae Waynes, and Xavier Rhodes have been pretty good in spots, though strangely leaky in others. The middle does a lot of damage with Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr. And the line has been big with Everson Griffens five sacks, along with good play from Danielle Hunter and Linval Joseph. They are getting after the quarterback, while helping keep the opposing run-game in check.
Well see if Chicago gets a boost with the introduction of Trubisky into the NFL quarterback ranks. When a blue-chip quarterback prospect takes over, a wait-and-see approach is perhaps what is called for. While the odds favor a typical trial-by-fire period where Trubisky gets his feet wet, he could rise to the occasion and take this team on his shoulders and carry them to big things. In other words, we dont really know until we know. Theyve been a tough team, beating the Steelers and nearly beating the Falcons. Can Trubisky help the offense kick it up a notch?
The Chicago run-game is pretty good and thats something that could help a young QB as he finds his bearings. Jordan Howard can really be a handful, while rookie Tarik Cohen has shown some upside as a playmaker in the run, the pass, and on special teams. But injuries and departures have depleted the aerial attack, as Trubisky will be working with a dicey receiving crew led by Kendall Hunter, Josh Bellamy, Deonte Thompson, and TE Zach Miller. But one thing that could help Trubisky is an offensive line that at its best plays really well.
The Chicago defense has been giving up a lot of points, though theyre better than it seems looking at that. They havent been very clutch and have failed in some big moments. But they can be stout in the right spots. Up-front with Willie Young, Akiem Nicks and Eddie Goldman, along with linebackers Christian Jones, Danny Trevathan (out) and Leonard Floyd, they have been good against the run. Also, the additions in the secondary of Marcus Cooper and rookie Eddie Jackson have seemed to result in at least a slight upgrade.
There is some uncertainty in this game with the QB situation. We really dont know what Bradfords status will be, while Chicago is starting a rookie in his first NFL game. These division teams split their 2 games last season and in Soldier Field, were not likely to see a Minnesota blowout win. I see the Bears offense getting some new life, as they had fallen flat at times this season. Rookie mistakes notwithstanding, I see a spirited effort from the Bears and I like them to cover the spread this week.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Chicago Bears plus 3 points. Bet this game and all of your wagers at a sportsbook that lets you bet at discounted odds (-105 instead of -110), thatoffers live in game betting and that has the biggest variety of wagers (including high school football betting). Oh, and they offer FAST no hassle payouts as well! —> 5Dimes!