Chicago will travel to Minnesota in one of only two games this week where both teams have something on the line.
The Bears can notch the second-seed in the NFC playoffs and win the first round bye and the home game that comes with it if they beat the Vikings, and the Rams manage to lose to the 49ers. That would leave both teams at 12-4 and make the Bears’ head-to-head victory a tiebreaker.
Minnesota is fighting for their playoff lives. They control their destiny. If they win, they are in as a wild card team. A Seattle loss could determine whether the Vikings play in Dallas as the 5th seed or travel to Los Angeles or Chicago as the sixth.
If they lose, a Philadelphia victory over Washington could knock the Vikings out of the playoffs.
Minnesota comes off two straight victories since Mike Zimmer fired his offensive coordinator. The team is finally running the ball like Zimmer expected and reportedly told John Defillipo practically every week until he was fired.
Dalvin Cook is leading the rushing attack, which is making Kirk Cousins more effective. The defense has picked things up, too.
Matt Nagy will play his starters in search of the first round bye. The team hopes the 49ers will notch their third quality win in four weeks against the Rams.
Injuries and notes:
Xavier Rhodes and linebacker Eric Kendricks are questionable for the Vikings.
Chicago expects everyone to be available for the season finale.
Matt Nagy can do no wrong in Chicago these days, except losing to the Vikings either this week or in the wild-card game next week. The Bears resurgence has been remarkable and should have Nagy in the Coach of the year conversation.
Mike Zimmer probably should have changed offensive coordinators a few weeks earlier. Then he might be able to rest starters this week instead of essentially playing playoff football the past two weeks. But the improvement immediately realized in the whole team by doing what Zimmer said they should be doing all season shows again how knowledgeable Zimmer is.
How to watch the Vikings-Bears game
CBS will broadcast this game to various markets. You can watch the live stream action for free with Fubo TV.
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Who will win the Vikings-Bears game?
This could be one of the more entertaining games of the day, with a desperate Vikings team fighting a motivated Bears defense. It could also be a preview of the wild card week or even a week 2 playoff game.
The young rookie coach takes on the grizzled veteran in a cherished rivalry. This one could go either way but look for the home crowd and player experience to make a difference.
Final score: Vikings 24, Bears 21