Vikings vs Bears Preview & Free Pick [December 20th 2021]

Minnesota (6-7) at Chicago (4-9)
When: Monday, December 20th 2021
Where: Soldier Field,
Chicago, IL
Time: 8:15 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Minnesota -4/43.5

This week’s Monday Night Football game features a good ‘ol rivalry in the NFC North, but not a very appealing one this season when the Minnesota Vikings visit the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. When the NFL’s new media deal kicks in for the 2023 season, Monday night games from Week 12 on will be allowed to be flexed in/out. This matchup would have been flexed out for sure, but the Bears are usually a good TV draw. Chicago isn’t going anywhere this season and head coach Matt Nagy will be coaching his last four games for the Bears. There won’t be any ‘tanking’ the rest of the way because the Bears don’t own their first-round draft pick in 2022. That goes to the New York Giants via the Justin Fields trade. Chicago has lost seven of their last eight games and have covered the spread only once in that stretch – a 16-14 win at Detroit on Thanksgiving. Fields has shown some glimpses of hope, but he is also making the common rookie mistakes.


The Vikings are hoping to add to those miscues and stay in the crowded playoff hunt in the NFC. Minnesota sits four games behind the Green Bay Packers in the division to start Week 15, but are tied with four other teams for the final wild card spot. They are currently losing a tiebreaker to Washington but winning tiebreakers over other 6-7 teams in Philadelphia, Atlanta and New Orleans. The Vikings are coming off a 36-28 home win over the Pittsburgh Steelers last Thursday night in a game they almost blew. Quarterback Kirk Cousins has thrown at least two touchdown passes in nine straight road games, but his team is just 2-5 away from home this season. This will be the first of two meetings between the teams after they split in 2020.

The Vikings are used to playing tight games, but are hoping this one is a laugher. All but one Vikings’ contest this season has been decided by one possession including last Thursday night. Minnesota jumped out to a 29-0 third-quarter lead on Pittsburgh only to nearly let the Steelers tie the game on the final play that went off the hands of Pat Freiermuth. Vikings Pro Bowl tailback Dalvin Cook returned from a one-game injury absence and controlled the game with 205 yards rushing and two scores. Cousins had two TD passes but also two interceptions. Cook’s backup Alexander Mattison has landed on the COVID list. Wideout Justin Jefferson needs 68 receiving yards to surpass Odell Beckham Jr. (2,755 receiving yards) for the most ever by a receiver in his first two seasons.

The Bears were competitive for the first half last Sunday night at Green Bay but ultimately lost 45-30. They had the first punt-return TD of the season in the NFL in the first half – a 97-yarder from Jakeem Grant – but were completely dominated after halftime. Down 11 in the fourth quarter, Nagy opted not to go for a fourth-and-inches at around his own 40. Of course the Packers went right down the field and scored after that. Fields finished with 224 passing yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions, while also leading the Bears with 74 rushing yards. The rookie QB has a 69.3 passer rating on the season while throwing for 1,585 yards, six touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also has rushed for 385 yards and a pair of touchdowns. David Montgomery leads the Bears with 801 yards from scrimmage (608 rushing, 193 receiving) and Chicago ranks seventh in the NFL with 126.0 rushing yards per contest.

I liked this game a lot better earlier in the week when it was -3.5. I have it posted at that number over on our Staff Selections page, but I’ll still lay the six here. The Bears have no motivation playing for a lame-duck coach. Cousins does have trouble in prime time, but he did help the Vikings win last Thursday night.

Pick: Vikings -6
Week 15 Staff Selections