Week 18 Preview: Bears vs Vikings - January 8, 2022

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Week 18 Preview: Bears vs Vikings – January 8, 2022

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears will wrap up their 2022 season this weekend against the Minnesota Vikings, but unfortunately, as we learned earlier this week, they will do it without Justin Fields.

Fields will miss Sunday’s contest with a hip strain, and therefore he will not have one more shot at breaking Lamar Jackson’s single season quarterback rushing record, eliminating just about the most entertaining story line of the week for Bears fans.

Oh well, what are you going to do? I’ll tell you what I’m going to do; I’m going to watch an absolutely meaningless game because I wanted a chance to see Fields make history live. So now, I’ll just be a Vikings fan for a few hours, freezing my tail off at Soldier Field in a Justin Fields jersey.

But seriously, bellyaching aside, the Bears must find a way to lose this game to guarantee themselves, at worst, the No. 2 pick in the draft. As we’ve discussed, if they lose and get a little help from the Texans, they’ll land the No. 1 pick in the draft. That’s all that really matters at this point.

As for Fields, his season comes to a close, and next week’s regularly scheduled Fields Film will instead be a look back at his 2022 season as a whole, and that’s a story I’m excited to write.

Game Info

Chicago Bears (3-13, 4th NFC North) vs Minnesota Vikings (12-4, 1st NFC North) – FOX (Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake); WBBM 780 AM, 105.9 FM (Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, Mark Grote)

Kickoff Time: Noon CT
Site:
Soldier Field; Chicago.
Referee: Brad Allen
Odds: Vikings -7.5, O/U 43 (via DraftKings Sports Book)

We Got $5 On It

Note: Lu’s and Patrick’s listed bets were placed on BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook.

Lu’s Plays

  • Moneyline Bet-Game: Bears win (+290) — Consider this insurance against the Bears winning their way out of the No. 1 overall pick. A $5 wager here would turn into $19.50 if Chicago’s football team beat a Vikings squad that has something to play for to close out the regular season. But I might put more on it because $19.50 won’t do much to make me feel better if the Bears squander an opportunity to secure peak draft positioning.

Patrick’s Plays

  • Moneyline Bet-Game: Vikings win, Moneyline Bet-Game: Texans Win (+175) — You can call this the ‘No. 1 Pick’ bet. I’m parlaying the Moneyline in the Bears-Vikings and Texans-Colts games with the Vikings and Texans as winners. $10 bucks wins me $27.46, and the Bears the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.

You can get in on this action at DraftKings:

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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: 23/36, 287 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 INT; 2 carries, 9 rushing yards

vs.

Bears: Nathan Peterman: 19/31, 219 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 4 carries, 14 rushing yards

Week 18 projected stats via ESPN projections

Bears Projected Starters

Offense
•   QB Nathan Peterman
•   RB David Montgomery
•   FB Khari Blasingame
•   WRs Chase Claypool, Equanimeous St. Brown, Byron Pringle
•   TE Cole Kmet
•   LT Braxton Jones, LG Cody Whitehair, C Sam Mustipher, RG Dieter Eiselen, RT Riley Reiff

Defense
•   LDE Trevis Gipson, LDT Mike Pennel Jr., RDT Justin Jones, RDE Dominique Robinson
•   SAM Matthew Adams, MIKE Joe Thomas, WILL Nicholas Morrow
•   LCB Jaylon Jones, RCB Kyler Gordon
•   FS DeAndre Houston-Carson, SS Jaquan Brisker

Specialists
•   Cairo Santos (kicker), Trenton Gill (punter, holder), Patrick Scales (long snapper), Velus Jones Jr. (punt returns), Velus Jones Jr. (kick returns)

Vikings Projected Starters

Offense

•   QB Kirk Cousins
•   RB Dalvin Cook
•   WRs Justin Jefferson, Adam Theilen, K.J. Osborn
•   TE T.J. Hockenson
•   LT Christian Darrisaw, LG Ezra Cleveland, C Chris Reed, RG Ed Ingram, RT Olisaemeka Udoh

Defense

•   LDE Dalvin Thompson, NT Khyris Tonga, RDE Harrison Phillips
•   WLB Danielle Hunter, LILB Eric Kendricks, RILB Jordan Hicks, SLB Za’Darius Smith
•   LCB Patrick Peterson, RCB Duke Shelley
•   FS Camryn Bynum, SS Harrison Smith

Specialists
•   Greg Joseph (kicker), Ryan Wright (punter, holder), Andrew DePaola (long snapper), Jalen Reagor, Kene Nwangwu (kick and punt returns)

Three Bears

Chase Claypool was visibly frustrated last Sunday against the Lions, and I can understand why. Getting traded, learning a new system (that isn’t all that pass-heavy at this point), and suffering a knee injury that cost him multiple games has the wideout frustrated with how things have gone.

Look, I get that people are mad about the cost of the acquisition. It’s a fair observation and feeling. I even understand some of the angst about Claypool’s performance in Chicago these last couple of months or even doubt about what he might become next season. I get it, but I just don’t think there’s any point in writing him off yet.

He’s here and cost a valuable draft pick, so I’ll lean in the glass-half-full direction on this one for the time being and say that I hope he can have a solid game and close out the season on a positive note. It’ll only be good for next season.


Cole Kmet has had a nice season. He answered some questions I had coming into the season, developed an excellent rapport with Justin Fields, and even got really hot at one point. Like with Claypool, I want to see Kmet have an excellent game and head into the offseason healthy after Sunday’s game with the Vikings.


We might be watching David Montgomery play his final game in a Bears uniform this week, so I’ll be rooting for him to have an excellent game in front of the Soldier Field crowd, maybe for the last time. But, outside of that, with the hope being that the Bears lose and so many key pieces of the future not playing, there’s really nothing to zero in on in this one.



Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.