Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings Betting Preview

Sunday, December 20, 2020, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1 p.m. ET

Bears at Vikings Betting Preview: Bears (+3.5/-110), Vikings (-3.5/-110)

Chicago Bears

Chicago snapped a six-game losing streak with a 36-7 home romp against Houston in Week 14, getting a big game from resurgent starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who was 24-of-33 passing for 267 yards and three touchdowns — with all three scores coming in the first half.

The Bears are seeking to avoid a season sweep at the hands of the Vikings, who outgained Chicago 385-149 in a 19-13 win at Soldier Field in Week 10.

While Chicago still ranks 28th in the NFL with 93.2 rushing yards a game, the team is coming off its best ground game of the season, racking up 169 yards against Houston. David Montgomery went for 113 yards and a touchdown as the 6-7 Bears kept their playoff hopes alive.

Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota stumbled to a 26-14 loss at Tampa Bay in Week 14 to fall to 6-7, one game behind Arizona for the NFC’s final wild-card spot. The Vikings hold the tiebreaker against the Bears by virtue of their head-to-head victory in Chicago.

Dalvin Cook rushed for 102 yards against the Buccaneers to eclipse the century mark for the third time in four games, but he’ll look to come untracked against the Bears, who limited Cook for much of Week 10 before a handful of late bursts helped him finish with 96 yards. Cook is tied for the NFL lead with 14 rushing touchdowns.

Placekicker Dan Bailey has missed four field goals and three extra points in the past two games.

The Minnesota defense has allowed a 100-yard rusher 10 times this season.

Bears at Vikings Betting Pick for Week 15

Cousins was sacked a season- and career-high six times at Tampa Bay. The Bears’ defense needs to come closer to that effort than the one-sack performance it had against the Vikings in Week 10 to remain in striking distance here. Yes, the Chicago offense has a different dynamic under Trubisky than replacement Nick Foles, who lumbered through the teams’ meeting at Soldier Field before leaving late with an injury, but Minnesota has schemed against Trubisky before.

Bears at Vikings Betting Pick:

Vikings 26, Bears 16

Bears at Vikings Best Bet for Week 15

The Vikings and Bears enter Week 15 tied for fourth in the NFL in red-zone defense, allowing foes to score touchdowns on 52.3 percent of their visits inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Look for at least one ‘D’ to make a big play to thwart a scoring opportunity and keep the glitzy U.S. Bank scoreboard from getting excessively lit up in the final NFC North game before Christmas.

Bears at Vikings Best Bet: UNDER 46.5 total points (-110)

Minnesota Vikings at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Betting Preview

Sunday, December 13, 2020, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida, 1 p.m. ET

Vikings at Buccaneers Betting Preview: Vikings (+6.5/-105), Buccaneers (-6.5/-115)

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings (6-6) are shooting for their sixth win in the past seven games as they ride a hot trio of offensive players. Kirk Cousins has topped 300 yards and thrown three touchdown passes in each of the past three games. He has 14 touchdown passes against two interceptions during the team’s 5-1 stretch. Running back Dalvin Cook had 179 scrimmage yards (120 rushing, 59 receiving) on a career-best 38 touches against the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday and ranks second in the NFL with 1,250 rushing yards.

The most surprising efforts have come from rookie receiver Justin Jefferson, who ranks fourth in the NFL with 1,039 yards while scoring seven touchdowns among his 61 catches. Five-time Pro Bowl safety Harrison Smith is exhibiting his customary strong play, and he leads the Vikings with four interceptions. Linebacker Eric Kendricks (team-best 107 tackles) is over 100 for the fifth straight season and is expected to play despite missing practice Wednesday due to a calf injury.

Tight end Kyle Rudolph (foot) sat out Wednesday. His status is one to watch as he has started 97 consecutive games. Backup running back Alexander Mattison (appendectomy) missed last week’s game and likely will sit out again.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers (7-5) return from a well-timed bye that followed a stretch of three losses in four games. Tampa Bay is three games behind New Orleans in the NFC South, so the focus is on earning a wild-card spot, which is certainly helped by their final three contests coming against the Atlanta Falcons (two) and the Detroit Lions. Tampa Bay will rely on the likes of outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (8.5 sacks) and cornerback Carlton Davis (four interceptions) when it comes to slowing down the Minnesota offense.

Quarterback Tom Brady appeared to be finding his stride when he went four games without an interception, but he has been picked off seven times over the last four games. Brady has passed for 3,300 yards, 28 touchdowns and 11 interceptions but hasn’t fully clicked with the methods of coach Bruce Arians. Wideout Mike Evans has 11 touchdown catches. Tight end Rob Gronkowski had his best outing of the season with six receptions for 106 yards in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs that preceded the bye.

Receiver Chris Godwin, a Pro Bowl selection last season, had the pins removed from his fractured left index finger earlier this week and is expected to be fine by Sunday. Cornerback Jamel Dean has cleared the concussion protocol but is dealing with a groin injury that leaves his status in doubt.

Vikings at Buccaneers Betting Pick for Week 13

The Buccaneers are rested and refreshed after the bye and focused on finishing strong. The Vikings have been hot but were pushed into overtime by the lowly Jaguars last week.

Cousins has been on a roll, but you never know when he will revert to being the quarterback who was picked off multiple times in three of the first six games of the season. Brady is well aware he needs to raise his level of play, and this game looks to be the time to start.

Vikings at Buccaneers Betting Pick:

Buccaneers 34, Vikings 28

Vikings at Buccaneers Best Bet for Week 13

Playmakers are all over the field with Cook, Jefferson and wideout Adam Thielen (12 receiving touchdowns) for the Vikings and Evans, Godwin, Gronkowski, wideout Antonio Brown and running back Ronald Jones II for the Buccaneers. Expect the scoreboard to be busy.

Vikings at Buccaneers Best Bet: OVER 51.5 total points (-110)

5 NFL Prop Bets To Watch This Weekend

Last weekend saw some ridiculous action around the NFL, including a could-have-should-have-somehow-didn’t win for the Jets and the Steelers lose for the first time.

As we inch closer to the postseason, here are five prop bets we’ve got our eye on this weekend.

Jared Goff

Over/Under: Jared Goff (-113) throws for more than 271.5 yards against the Patriots

Prediction: Under

After a somewhat slow start to the season, it looks like both of these teams have finally found their footing. The 6-6 Pats travel to LA to face the 8-4 Rams on Thursday evening.

Entering the game, Los Angeles ranks sixth in the league in passing offense, averaging 271.2 yards per game. While the Pats may not be as fearsome as they were last year, New England has the seventh-ranked scoring defense in the NFL this season. New England’s defense ranks 13th against the pass (225.8 yards/game).

So what gives? My prediction is the Rams focus on attacking the Patriots on the ground; New England is in the bottom-half of the league against the run.

Dalvin Cook

Minnesota (+116) will be the first team to score in the Vikings-Buccaneers game

Prediction: Yes

The game between the Buccaneers and the Vikings could have major NFC playoff implications: Tampa Bay is projected to be the sixth seed in the NFC while the Vikings would be the seventh seed. The winner of this game will significantly increase their chances to reach the 2020 postseason.

This one comes down to the coin flip, but I’m more confident the Vikings defense can get a game-opening stop and put points on the board than Tampa holding Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson down early in the game.

Josh Allen

Over/Under: 5.5 combined passing TDs in the Bills-Steelers game.

Prediction: Over

Sunday night could feature one of the best regular-season games of the year. The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to bounce back after suffering a disappointing loss at the hands of the Washington Football Team, ending their bid for an undefeated season. On the other side, the 9-3 Buffalo Bills are looking to continue building their confidence heading to the playoffs.

This game features two of the best passing attacks in the NFL. Buffalo ranks fourth in passing touchdowns this season while the Steelers rank sixth. Also, the Bills (fifth) and Steelers (11th) are among the league leaders in team Quarterback Rating.

In his last five games, Josh Allen has completed 72.6% of his passes and thrown 10 passing TDs. In his last five contests, Ben Roethlisberger’s has found the end zone more frequently than Allen (12 TDs to 3 INTs). I anticipate both QBs finding success come Sunday night.

This is a primetime game that will have a huge impact on how the AFC playoff race shakes out.

Nick Chubb

Over/Under: 299.5 total rushing yards in the Ravens-Browns game

Prediction: Under

The 9-3 Browns are coming off one of the best wins in recent franchise history, hammering the Titans 41-35 last week. Baltimore is hoping they can turn things around after winning only two of their previous six outings. The Ravens desperately need this game if they want to keep their playoff dreams alive while the Browns are looking to lock in a playoff berth.

This matchup will feature the top two rushing offenses in the NFL. The Ravens have the number one rushing attack in the league (169 rushing yards per game). Cleveland is right on their heels (pun intended), ranking second in the league at 157.8 yards per game on the ground.

Will these teams maintain their season averages on the ground, or will the opposing coaching staff try to take away the run game? My bet is to take the under in this prop – both sides will focus on the run (which means check Baker Mayfield’s props this weekend as well).

Patrick Mahomes

The Chiefs (+155) will be the last team to score a TD in the KC-MIA game

Prediction: No

After starting the year 1-3, the Dolphins have rebounded to win seven of their last eight – all while making multiple changes at the quarterback position. Kansas City, on the other hand, saw their chances at the top seed in the AFC increase dramatically when the Steelers lost to Baltimore. And they have no questions or concerns under center.

Miami is battling for a playoff spot and they’ve shown a lot of heart, but Kansas City’s offense is almost impossible to slow down. While I believe the Chiefs will win this game, I’m betting the Dolphins put points on the board last.

Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings Betting Preview

Sunday, November 29, 2020, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1 p.m. ET

Panthers at Vikings Betting Preview: Panthers (+4.5/+110), Vikings (-4.5/-110)

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers (4-7) snapped a five-game losing streak with a blanking of Detroit last week, marking the first shutout for Carolina in five years. Teddy Bridgewater, a former first-round draft pick for the Vikings, could be back in action after missing a game for the first time this season with a knee injury.

P.J Walker filled in at quarterback, throwing his first NFL touchdown pass, though he was picked off twice in the end zone. Carolina likely will be without running back Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) again. The Panthers seemed motivated on defense, particularly after a miserable outing a week earlier against Tampa Bay.

Whether they maintain that type of anger channeled in the right direction could be a factor in how they perform in Minneapolis.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings (4-6) seemed to have wasted some of the good work of a three-game winning streak by losing at home to struggling Dallas. Getting back on track against the Panthers is almost essential in order to salvage the season. Most of the issues of concern came on the defensive side for the Vikings, whose youth showed up with numerous breakdowns against the Cowboys.

Carolina has some fill-ins at work on offense, but it’s the only NFL team with two receivers (DJ Moore and Robby Anderson) with more than 800 receiving yards. The Vikings generally put up enough points to get things done. Dalvin Cook has gone above the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the second season in a row.

There are questions about the availability of receiver Adam Thielen, whose 11 touchdown catches reflect more than half of the team’s total of 20. Thielen went on the Reserve/COVID-19 list at the beginning of the week but has since tested negative.

Panthers at Vikings Betting Pick for Week 12

The Vikings seem due for another “prove-it” situation and so they should be determined after a performance riddled with mistakes. An overriding storyline for the game will be the status of Bridgewater, who is expected to be back on the field after a one-week absence with a knee injury.

Bridgewater is a former first-round draft choice and starter with the Vikings, so he figures to be well-motivated as well.

Panthers at Vikings Betting Pick: Vikings 28, Panthers 23

Panthers at Vikings Best Bet for Week 12

The Vikings tend to reach the 28-point mark with regularity and so that might make the accomplishments of Carolina’s defense turn into a one-week blip. Minnesota has plenty of offensive weapons.

If the Panthers have Bridgewater back, they should be capable of doing some good work on offense, especially if the Vikings haven’t gotten things fixed on defense.

Panthers at Vikings Best Bet: OVER 48.5 total points (-110)

Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings Betting Preview

Sunday, November 22, 2020, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, 4:25 p.m. ET

Cowboys at Vikings Betting Preview: Cowboys (+7/-105), Vikings (-7/-115)

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys (2-7) have endured a miserable season, punctuated by the loss of injured quarterback Dak Prescott (ankle), and many of the franchise’s fans have started to think about a high pick in the draft and how it could bolster the franchise going forward. However, seven games remain in the schedule, and the Cowboys are far from eliminated in an NFC East division race that resembles more of a crawl.

Dallas expects to welcome back quarterback Andy Dalton, who missed the past two games as he went through concussion and COVID-19 protocols. Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard provide a strong 1-2 punch on the ground, and wideout CeeDee Lamb (44 receptions) needs three more catches to set the franchise record for a rookie.

The Cowboys must find a way to contain the Vikings’ well-balanced offense, which is led by dynamic running back Dalvin Cook. That could be a tall task unless the offense is able to put together long drives and prevent the Dallas defense from spending most of the game on the field.

Minnesota Vikings

Don’t look now, but the Vikings are heating up and could make a second-half run at the postseason. Minnesota started the season 1-5 with a bevy of problems, but since then the Vikings have reeled off three straight wins and have a chance to climb back to .500 with a win Sunday.

Cook leads the NFL in rushing yards (954) and rushing touchdowns (12), and wide receiver Adam Thielen is tied for the NFL lead with nine touchdown receptions. The weak link in the early going had been quarterback Kirk Cousins, but he turned in a much better performance one week ago as he spearheaded a Monday night victory over the Chicago Bears.

On defense, Minnesota also has shown signs of improvement. The Vikings’ last two games have marked their lowest opponent scoring totals of the season.

Cowboys at Vikings Betting Pick for Week 11

Minnesota is brimming with confidence as it returns home to face an injury-ravaged Cowboys team. Yes, the Vikings will be on short rest, but winning is contagious and the team should find a way to keep its success going against a Dallas team that is half-focused on this season and half-focused on gearing up for 2021.

Cowboys at Vikings Betting Pick: Vikings 27, Cowboys 17

Cowboys at Vikings Best Bet for Week 11

Those who bet on the under in the Vikings-Bears contest came away with a profit last week, and it stands to reason that the under will pay off once again in Week 11. Dalton has missed multiple weeks and never showed rhythm even when he was at full health for Dallas.

Minnesota will rely on its bread-and-butter approach of putting the ball in Cook’s hands and looking for timely throws down the field. This could be another matchup in which the Vikings prioritize a victory over style points.

Cowboys at Vikings Best Bet: UNDER 48 points (-110)

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears Betting Preview

Monday, November 16, 2020, Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois, 8:15 p.m. ET

Vikings at Bears Betting Preview: Vikings (-2.5/-120), Bears (+2.5/-102)

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings (3-5) have looked like a different team the past two weeks, when they have posted back-to-back wins over the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. Running back Dalvin Cook is the type of player whom opposing coaches refer to as a “game wrecker” because of his ability to change momentum on a single play.

How good has Cook been? Well, he rushed for 206 yards and two touchdowns last week, which followed a four-touchdown performance (three rushing, one receiving) a week earlier. Cook has 858 rushing yards, tops in the NFL through Week 9. His 12 rushing touchdowns are one shy of his career high, set last year.

Minnesota is not as reliable on defense, having allowed 40-plus points twice this season. However, the Vikings are trending in the right direction in that category, as well, as they are coming off a week in which they gave up a season-low 20 points to Detroit.

Chicago Bears

The Bears (5-4) are sliding, and questions are swirling about whether head coach Matt Nagy will give up play-calling duties this week. Nagy admitted that it is a possibility but indicated that he will not tell media members before the game whether he has taken himself out of the equation.

At this point, the Bears might be wise to try something different to shake up the offense. The team has lost three games in a row, and an injury-riddled offensive line has struggled badly to provide protection for veteran quarterback Nick Foles. Nagy’s playbook is complex, and his plays often require time for the quarterback to diagnose coverages and make reads down the field, and Foles simply is not getting enough time in the pocket to achieve that task.

That said, it is not all doom and gloom for Chicago. The Bears boast a top-tier defense with a superstar leader, linebacker Khalil Mack. If the offense can limit mistakes and put a couple touchdowns on the board, the defense is more than capable of doing its part.

Vikings at Bears Betting Pick for Week 10

These two teams know each other well, and division rivalries such as this one tend to produce close, low-scoring games. For reference, look no further than last season, when the Bears beat the Vikings 16-6 in Chicago and 21-19 in Minneapolis. Offensive barnburners, they were not.

Cook is electric, but he has averaged only 2.5 yards per carry against the Bears in his career. Still, it is hard to argue that Chicago’s anemic offense can find a way to outscore Minnesota. Could this game finally mark the end of Kirk Cousins’ 0-9 drought on “Monday Night Football”?

Vikings at Bears Betting Pick:

Vikings 20, Bears 16

Vikings at Bears Best Bet for Week 10

Both teams are desperate for a victory, and the Bears figure to play inspired defense at home in front of a national TV audience. But it ultimately might not matter whether Nagy or an assistant coach calls Chicago’s plays. Without a dependable offensive line, the plays could break down regardless, leading to another low-scoring affair.

Vikings at Bears Best Bet: UNDER 43.5 total points (-110)

Former NFLer Tarvaris Jackson Dies

Former NFL QB Tarvaris Jackson passed away in a car crash this weekend

On Sunday night, former NFL Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson died in a car crash. A Tennessee State University spokesperson said that the wreck took place in Alabama. Jackson had been serving as Tennessee State’s Quarterbacks Coach since 2019.

Tarvaris Jackson was selected in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings and played with the Vikes from 2006 to 2010. During that five-year stretch, Jackson started in 20 games for Minnesota and compiled a 10-10 record. He had his most success as a starter in the NFL during the 2007 season when he led the Vikings to an 8-4 record in 12 starts.

After his tenure in Minnesota, Jackson went to the Seattle Seahawks, where he spent one year and was eventually traded to the Buffalo Bills in 2012. In June of 2013, the Bills released Jackson who then signed with the Seahawks three days later. Jackson earned himself a Super Bowl ring during his final three years in the NFL. He went on to become a free agent following the conclusion of the 2015 season.

Jackson had been coaching the last two years. He was a Graduate Assistant for Alabama State in 2018, and he later became the Quarterbacks Coach of Tennessee State University in 2019.

According to an Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the crash only involved a single vehicle and took place at 8:50 PM last night. Jackson is survived by his wife and three children. Tarvaris Jackson was 36 years old.