I don’t care what the calendar says.
The NFL postseason begins on Sunday:
▶️ #DaBears have a 19% shot at making the playoffs, per FiveThirtyEight's projections
▶️ Beating the Vikings bumps those odds to 44%
▶️ Losing to the Vikings drops them to 2%
We've got a big game on our hands in two days. Let's go!
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) December 18, 2020
It’s December and the Chicago Bears are playing meaningful football. This isn’t to downplay big-picture things and future considerations. But the hope should always be to play games of significance this time of year. Here we are, so are you ready to embrace it?
“Never Tell Me The Odds”
The DraftKings SportsBook lists the Bears (6-7) as 3.5-point underdogs against the Vikings (6-7). Over/under: 46.5.
The Vikings lead 61-56-2, with their win on Nov. 16 breaking a four-game Bears winning streak in the series.
Game Time, Broadcast Info, Officiating Crew:
Location: U.S. Bank Stadium
Broadcast Info: Sunday, December 20 at noon CT on CBS (Chris Myers, Greg Jennings, Jen Hale), WBBM-AM 780 and WCFS-FM 105.9 (Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, Mark Grote)
Referee: Shawn Smith
Expected Starters and Lineups:
Bears Expected Starters:
• QB Mitchell Trubisky
• RB David Montgomery
• WRs Allen Robinson II, Darnell Mooney, Anthony Miller
• TE Jimmy Graham
• LT Charles Leno Jr., LG Cody Whitehair, C Sam Mustipher, RG Alex Bars, RT Germain Ifedi
• DT Akiem Hicks, NT Bilal Nichols, DE Brent Urban
• OLBs Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn
• ILBs Roquan Smith, Danny Trevathan
• CBs Kyle Fuller, Jaylon Johnson (He’s questionable)
• FS Eddie Jackson
• SS Tashaun Gipson Sr.
• Cairo Santos (kicker), Pat O’Donnell (punter, holder), Patrick Sales (long snapper), Cordarrelle Patterson (kick returns), Anthony Miller (punt returns)
Vikings Expected Starters:
• QB Kirk Cousins
• RB Dalvin Cook
• FB C.J. Ham
• WRs Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen
• TE Tyler Conklin
• LT Riley Reiff, LG Dakota Dozier, C Garrett Bradbury, RG Ezra Cleveland, RT Brian O’Neill
• DE Ifedi Odenigbo, DT Shamar Stephen, DT Jaleel Johnson, DE Jalyn Holmes
• SLB Eric Wilson, MLB Todd Davis, WLB Troy Dye
• CBs Cameron Dantzler, Jeff Gladney
• FS Anthony Harris, SS Harrison Smith
• Dan Bailey (kicker), Britton Colquitt (punter, holder), Andrew DePaola (long snapper), KJ Osborn (kick & punt returns)
Three Bears …
Akiem Hicks was wrecking sh*t when he was on the field for his 38 snaps against the Vikings in Week 10. On the other hand, Dalvin Cook wasn’t. And then Hicks went out with a hamstring injury. From there, Cook went off. The Bears defense kept Cook in check to the tune of 39 yards on 19 carries before Hicks’ injury. After it? Cook ran it 11 times for 57 yards. Hicks is the X-factor in Sunday’s game.
Allen Robinson II has been thriving since Mitchell Trubisky’s return to the starting lineup. Robinson has caught 23 passes for 272 yards in three games, but I see that “3” in the touchdown column and it makes me smile. Don’t get me wrong, I love 7.7 catches and 90.7 yards on a per-game average during that stretch, but the Bears must finish drives with touchdowns. The Vikings have allowed 20 touchdowns to wide receivers in 13 games. They’ve allowed the court-most fantasy points to receivers, per Yahoo! Fantasy Sports. This might be a tough game for David Montgomery to get going. Minnesota has allowed just one 100-yard rusher in its last 10 games, so this should be a a game that favors the passing game.
John DeFilippo has quite the task ahead of coaching up Mitchell Trubisky this week. Beyond the obvious reasons as to why this game is important, Trubisky has been flustered constantly by Mike Zimmer’s defenses over the years. Trubisky has completed just 62 percent of his passes, thrown for only 850 yards, and has tossed more interceptions (3) than touchdowns (2). DeFilippo coached with Zimmer in 2018 before he was fired one year into being the Vikings’ offensive coordinator. That means he has a unique perspective in all this. Ideally, Trubisky acts like a sponge and soaks in everything DeFilippo can pass down.