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Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings Point Spread - Pick

Chicago Bears (5-10 SU, 7-7-1 ATS) vs. Minnesota Vikings (12-3 SU, 11-4 ATS)
Week 17 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, December 31, 2017 at 1PM EST
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota
TV: Fox

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: CHI +12/MIN -12
Over/Under Total: 40

The Chicago Bears take on the Minnesota Vikings in week 17 NFC North action from U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday. The Bears aren't doing too badly, winning their second in three games on Sunday with a 20-3 win over the Browns. The Vikings, meanwhile, beat the Packers 16-0 on Saturday, winning their 10th of 11 games, as they try to lock up the 2-seed this coming week at home. In the first meeting between these two teams, Chicago gave the Vikes a big battle in a week 5 MNF battle, losing narrowly, 20-17, as a Minnesota field goal late sewed up the win. Who can get the win and cover this week?

The Vikings are in the postseason, but there is some variance that could occur based on this week's result. A win here against the Bears locks up the 2-seed and a first-round bye, which would be very helpful. A loss here and some other twists of fate could force them to play in the wild-card round. At the same time, they can still lose and easily remain the 2-seed. So we expect urgency, but something less than a team fighting for its life. It would take a lot to bounce them from the 2-seed.

Minnesota has really done well on offense in 2017, forced to reform their identity with injuries at key positions. One of those was quarterback and Case Keenum has really filled in tremendously. He is completing over 67% of his throws and is over 3300 yards, with 21 TD throws and only 7 picks. After losing star rookie back Dalvin Cook, they have gotten good play from Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon. Aerially, Adam Thielen has been big this season with over 1200 yards. Stefon Diggs is working his way back into form and had a TD catch on Saturday. TE Kyle Rudolph is a solid option in the red-zone. Through everything, they have managed to foster a balanced and consistently-applied offensive formula for success.

Having given up a combined 7 points in their last two games, it's fair the say the Minnesota defense is in fine form entering the end-point of the regular season. It's the top-ranked defense in the league, both in terms of yardage and points allowed. They offer strong balance across this side of the ball. Up-front, Linval Joseph, Tom Johnson, Everson Griffen, and Danielle Hunter have gotten after quarterbacks, while being very adroit in stopping the run. Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr have been huge at linebacker this season. And a secondary with Trae Waynes, Terrance Newman, Harrison Smith, Andrew Sendejo, and Xavier Rhodes have been huge. Smith had two picks on Saturday against the Packers. This "D" is for real.

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Chicago is still in there trying and would appear to be a team that could rise to the role of spoiler, even though it isn't clear what they're spoiling here, as it might not even matter if the Vikes lose. But their recent form and how close they played the Vikes the first time around suggests they could be competitive in this spot. Granted, wins over the Bengals and the Browns might not mean all that much in the big picture, but those were lopsided wipeouts and show the Bears are still serious.

The Chicago offense still offers some upside. Rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has been playing his best football in December, at least showing more of an aerial inclination of late. Jordan Howard is at 1113 yards rushing and can be a big factor in this offense. With Trubisky flashing lively legs and Tarik Cohen also a factor, the run-attack is a growing one. It's not easy for the Bears to get aerial production, as different injuries have cost them basically anyone who was anyone in the pass-catching department. But Trubisky is making things work pretty well with what he has, which are a bunch of complimentary pieces aerially with no clear number one or two guys. Trubisky is doing pretty well, despite not much around him other than a good back in Howard.

The Chicago offense isn't the only area of the team battered by injuries. One look at the Chicago injury report will reveal a lot of familiar names on defense, where there are more projected starters than you will actually see on the field. And despite that, they've still held their heads high and in the last 4 games, they have given up a very reasonable total of 45 points. Despite the team's record, they are in the positive in turnover ratio and have scored three times this season. They can offer a deep pass-rush and are in the top-third both in run and pass-defense. For all they've been through, that's not half-bad.

In a way, Chicago is better than their record indicates. A 5-10 record won't elicit fear, but they are pretty tough and with all they've faced this season, it's fair to say they've overachieved to some degree. Ending the season with a big win would mean a lot for them moving forward. I just see this as being a weird time for the Vikings to get complacent. At the same time, it's a big number against a team where it's been difficult for even good teams to get separation from this season. I'll take the points.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Chicago Bears plus 12 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the Bears vs. Vikings game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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