After eking out a win against Houston and dropping a winnable game against the Giants, the Bears haven’t done their over bettors any favors through the first four weeks of the season, and the schedule is only going to get more difficult.
The Bears usually play well in Minnesota (they’ve won 3 of the last 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium!), but nothing they’ve done through the first month of the season is confidence-inspiring, so I’m going into this one with pretty low expectations. In fact, I’ll apologize to my pal Luis in advance; I’ll be listening along to the game on the golf course (Luis: Thanks for the invite!). Which should make the film watches this week slightly less painful, hopefully.
According to 670 The Score’s Mark Grote, it doesn’t look like Jaylon Johnson will play this weekend. So Kyler Gordon will have the arduous task of slowing down Justin Jefferson on Sunday. Good luck. Buckle up, friends; it’s going to be a tough afternoon.
Chicago Bears (2-2, 3rd NFC North) at Minnesota Vikings (3-1, T-1st NFC North) – FOX Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Kristina Pink); WBBM 780 AM, 105.9 FM (Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, Mark Grote)
Kickoff Time: Noon CT
Site: U.S. Bank Stadium; Minneapolis, Min.
Referee: Shawn Hochuli
Odds: MIN -7.5, O/U 44 (via DraftKings Sports Book)
We Got $5 On It
Note: Patrick’s listed bets were placed on Draft Kings Sportsbook, while Luis’ were made at BetMGM.
Lu’s Plays (Season Record & Net Winnings: 1-3, $-3.75)
- One Game Parlay: Cole Kmet 10+ receiving yards, Darnell Mooney 35+ receiving yards, Bears OVER 1.5 made field goals, Vikings UNDER 35.5 points (+360) — Technically, we were right to predict that the Bears kicker would make at least two field goals against the Giants in Week 4. But because it was Michael Badgley and not Cairo Santos, it goes down as a “no bet” in MGM’s books and a $5 refund back into our accounts. They don’t cash out tickets for moral victories. If they did, Las Vegas wouldn’t exist. Anyway, I like the combo platter of the lowest yardage for both Cole Kmet and Darnell Mooney, as well as the odds of Bears kickers making at least two field goals (again), and Chicago’s defense holding Minnesota to 35 points or less. It feels like I’m asking a lot, but at +360, a $5 bet pays out $23. That could go toward buying a pizza before Thursday’s game against the Commanders.
Patrick’s Plays (Season Record & Winnings: 1-6, $-11.50)
- Same-Game Parlay: Bears UNDER 23.5, Total UNDER 43.5, Fields UNDER 224.5 passing yards, 4+ total sacks (+165) — The Bears’ season high in scoring is 23 points, they won’t surpass that. I’ve also got the game going under 43.5 and Fields under 224.5 passing yards (which is like half of his total through four games, so easy money). Four or more total sacks seems like an easy play too. $5 wins $13.25 on this play.
You can get in on this action at DraftKings:
But there are a number of other official gambling apps you can use (with some juicy promos) right here.
Starting QBs and Projected Game Stats
Vikings: Kirk Cousins: 25/35, 248 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 INT; 1 carries, 6 rushing yards
Bears: Justin Fields: 15/24, 176 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 7 carries, 36 rushing yards
Bears Projected Starters
• QB Justin Fields
• RB David Montgomery (limited in practice on Thursday)
• WRs Darnell Mooney, Equanimeous St. Brown, Velus Jones Jr.
• TE Cole Kmet
• LT Braxton Jones, LG Lucas Patrick, C Sam Mustipher, RG Teven Jenkins, RT Larry Borom (but who really knows at this point?)
• LDE Al-Quadin Muhammad, LDT Angelo Blackson, RDT Justin Jones (limited in practice on Thursday), RDE Robert Quinn
• SAM Nicholas Morrow, MIKE Joe Thomas, WILL Roquan Smith
• LCB Kindle Vildor, RCB Kyler Gordon
• FS Eddie Jackson, SS Jaquan Brisker
• Cairo Santos (kicker), Trenton Gill (punter, holder), Patrick Scales (long snapper), Velus Jones Jr. (kick and punt returns)
Vikings Projected Starters
• QB Kirk Cousins
• RB Dalvin Cook
• WRs Justin Jefferson, Adam Theilen, K.J. Osborn
• TE Irv Smith Jr.
• LT Andrew Thomas, LG Ben Bredeson, C Jon Feliciano, RG Mark Glowinski, RT Evan Neal
• LDE Dalvin Thompson, NT Harrison Smith, RDE Jonathan Bullard
• WLB Danielle Hunter, LILB Eric Kendricks, RILB Jordan Hicks, SLB Za’Darius Smith (Q)
• LCB Patrick Peterson, RCB Cameron Dantzler Sr. (Q)
• FS Camryn Bynum, SS Harrison Smith
• Greg Joseph (kicker), Ryan Wright (punter, holder), Andrew DePaola (long snapper), Jalen Reagor, Kene Nwangwu (kick and punt returns)
Kyler Gordon will likely be tasked with slowing down Justin Jefferson on Sunday, and it could get ugly. Gordon has looked terrible against sub-par receivers through the first four weeks of the season. Now, with it looking like Jaylon Johnson won’t be playing, Gordon gets to line up opposite Justin Jefferson, one of the elite receivers in the NFL.
Jefferson has 28 catches for 393 yards and a pair of touchdowns, which is almost as many yards as Justin Fields has through the air. Big yikes.
I do not envy Gordon right about now.
Justin Fields was better but not great last week in the loss to the New York Giants. There’s so much discourse around Justin Fields development, particularly how much the lack of weapons around him and the play-calling is affecting it.
Luis wrote about how Dan Orlovsky passionately believes that there can’t be any assessments of his development, given the issues mentioned above. I see his point, but I don’t wholly agree with it.
Fields is running for his life most plays, that’s a fact. Fields is also making mental mistakes week in and week out. That’s also a fact. The latter is likely much to blame on the former, but regardless, both are true. Something has to give here, and it isn’t going to be the protection absent of outside additions.
So, why not help your young quarterback with some changes in the play-calling?
Given Luke Getsy’s bizarre assessment of his quarterback’s performance this week, I’m not sure he sees a need for change on his end, so I wouldn’t get your hopes up on that front.
This coaching staff is coaching to win games and coaching scared, and I don’t understand it. Either way, Justin Fields’ performance will heavily impact the game, so he’s here as one of the ‘Three Bears.’ I know this, Minnesota’s pass rush will have a field day (no pun intended) with the Bears’ offensive line. Poor Justin.
Roquan Smith had 10 tackles and two stuffs in Week 4, but Saquon Barkley ran for 146 yards on 31 carries (4.7 YPC) against the Bears, continuing the troubling trend of opposing running backs gutting the Bears’ defense.
The Bears have allowed the most rushing yards in the NFL, and it’s not even close. The Bears’ defense has given up 733 yards through four games, good for an average of 183 rushing yards allowed per contest., Now they get Dalvin Cook in Week 5.
To say that Roquan Smith needs to have a big game is 1) unfair to single him out because he’s the least of their problems on that side of the ball and 2) still very accurate.