If you love touchdowns, this one may not be for you, as the Chicago Bears (11-4) 3rd-ranked defense heads to U.S. Bank Stadium to take on the Minnesota Vikings (8-6-1) and their 7th-ranked defense in Week 17 (December 30, 2018 at 4:25pm EST).
Sportsbooks are putting a lot of stock into these stingy defenses, as they’ve set the game total at just 40.5, with the Vikings opening as 4.0-point favorites.
The Bears’ defense has been very stingy this season. Not only are they badgering QBs, giving up only 227.6 passing yards per game (8th), but have also shut down opposing rushing attacks, allowing a meager 81.1 rushing yards per game (2nd).
The minimal yards Chicago is surrendering (4th in total defense) is complemented by the 18.2 points they allow per game, ranking 3rd in scoring defense. This is not a defense you want to see often.
Kirk Cousins (100.9 passer rating this year) and Dalvin Cook (576 rushing yards) would both be pleased with average performances against this tough Chicago defense (4th in total defense). Anything more than a couple TDs should be seen as a victory for Minnesota against the no. 3 scoring defense.
The Vikings defense, on the other hand, is built to defend the pass.
They only allow 198.5 yards per game through the air, good for 3rd in the NFL. Their secondary has been very good, but they’d be the first to credit the pressure being applied on opposing QBs for their success.
Led by Danielle Hunter and his 14.5 sacks, Minnesota is first in the league in QB take downs, averaging 3.3 per game.
The Detroit Lions are now firsthand witness to how difficult it is to throw the ball against the Vikings. The Lions could only muster 137 passing yards in their matchup last week, where Minnesota got to the QB two times.
In order for Mitchell Trubisky (24 TDs to 12 INTs) to have any success through the air against this Vikings defense, Chicago will need to keep Danielle Hunter occupied, and Allen Robinson II (754 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns) cannot allow himself to be erased.
The Bears may be best served just relying on Jordan Howard and the ground game, though.
The last time these two teams played was November 18th, 2018, when Chicago overpowered the Vikings 25-20. The Bears were 2.5-point favorites in that game.