Monday Night Football Preview
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Line: Vikings -3.5 | Over/Under: 40
Week 5 comes to an end on Monday Night in the Windy City, as the 2-2 Minnesota Vikings take on the 1-3 Chicago Bears in an all NFC North showdown. Those looking for Fantasy Football Tips may be interested to know the visitors hold the historical advantage in this series, with a record of 58-52-2. The Vikings have won four of the last five meetings between these two teams, with their only loss coming on Monday Night Football in Week 8 of last season. Jordan Howard rushed for 153 yards, including a two-yard touchdown, as the Bears pulled off a 20-10 win.
The Bears had allowed three consecutive quarterbacks to pass for at least 204 yards to start the season but had only surrendered one touchdown through the air per game. Last week, they held Aaron Rodgers to merely 179 yards passing but gave up four touchdown passes. Since taking over from Sam Bradford after Week 1, Case Keenum has thrown for 755 yards and three touchdowns. He has yet to throw an interception, while the Bears have yet to record one.
The Vikings held the Lions to just 209 yards through the air in Week 4, the lowest number they had allowed all season. They also prevented a passing score for the first time in 2017. After a fairly dismal outing against the Packers, a game in which he threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles, Mike Glennon has been benched for rookie Mitchell Trubisky. From 2008 to 2017, 13 rookie quarterbacks against Mike Zimmer led defenses have thrown for one touchdown or less out of 18 in total, with only T.J. Yates and Branden Weeden among this bunch throwing for more than 300 yards.
Despite allowing a running back rushing score in each of their four games so far this season, the Bears have actually been fairly solid against the run. They’ve allowed just 81.25 rushing yards per game, with only one game in which the opponents managed to top 92 yards. The Vikings lost star rookie running back Dalvin Cook to an ACL injury last week, and will look to a committee of Latavius Murray and Jerrick McKinnon to fill in. The two are averaging combined 2.6 yards per attempt this season.
Running backs have enjoyed themselves even less against the Vikings than the Bears, however. Only one running back has rushed for a touchdown this season, while the Vikings are yet to allow more than 98 yards on the ground in a single game to tailbacks this season. The Bears are blessed with two quite different players at the running back position, in Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. Howard leads the team with 252 rushing yards and four touchdowns, while Cohen has 181 yards on 30 carries at 6 yards per attempt. Cohen has flashed in the receiving game, leading the team with 24 receptions. His 150 yards are good for second on the team.
In Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, the Vikings boast one of the more underrated wide receiver duos in the NFL. With each seeing 32 targets already this year, they have combined for 46 catches and 749 yards. Diggs has four touchdown grabs, while Thielen is yet to find the end zone. Wide receivers have tormented the Bears in 2017, allowing an average of 12.2 receptions and 152.5 yards per game to wideouts. They’re also given up six touchdowns.
The Bears receiving corps is one of the more talent deprived units in the entire league, with Kendall Wright leading the way with just 14 catches for 154 yards and a single touchdown. His touchdown is the only score by a Bears wide receiver all season long. The secondary is an area of weakness for the Vikings, despite the presence of star cornerback Xavier Rhodes and stud safety Harrison Smith. Wide receivers have snared an average of 14.2 receptions per game against the Vikings, with the average yardage allowed reaching 187.
After a breakout 2016 season, tight end Kyle Rudolph is yet to really get going in 2017. He has just ten catches so far, for 109 yards and a solitary touchdown. He hasn’t topped 45 yards in a single game. Since allowing 128 yards and a touchdown to Austin Hooper in Week 1, the Bears have held tight ends to 13 grabs for 105 yards in the three games since.
Zach Miller leads a trio of tight ends on the Bears with 13 catches for 143 scoreless yards so far in 2017. Former Miami Dolphin Dion Sims has just three receptions, while rookie Adam Shaheen caught his only target of the season for a two-yard touchdown. The Vikings have allowed at least 50 receiving yards and/or a touchdown to tight ends so far this season, allowing 5.5 catches per game to the position. It was a tough week for NFL picks, but you can find all of Gridiron Experts NFL Picks Here
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