Vikings Bears Betting – NFC North Rivals Clash on Sunday Night Football
It was just over a year ago that the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears were being touted as the two teams most likely to emerge from the NFC North and represent the division in the postseason, and my how things have changed in the NFL since then. While the Bears actually did make it to the NFC Championship game a year ago, the Vikings were out of playoff contention by the halfway mark, and through the first five weeks of this season the two teams are a combined 3-7. Making things worse is the elevation of both the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions within the division over the same time, with a Super Bowl and perfect 10-0 combined record to start this season between them.
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears
Sunday October 16, 2011 – 8:20 PM ET
Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois
NFL Betting Lines: Chicago Bears – 3
There is no room for error in the NFC North, and with both teams struggling out of the gate it is unlikely that either team will be able to rally in time to turn things around. The Bears are just a game below .500 and feel that they can still contend, but a loss this week on Sunday Night Football would surely put to rest any sports betting chance that they have at the playoffs.
NFL Betting Preview: Minnesota Vikings
After four straight losses to open their season, the Vikings dismissed their postseason chances as fast as any other team in the NFL, although an argument could have been made that with so much turnover from last year’s roster this team never really had a chance. Quarterback Donovan McNabb was brought in to be the bridge between the past and future in Christian Ponder, and with every passing week it appears as though Minnesota is closer to getting the rookie some snaps. Easing the Vikings’ tensions a week ago was running back Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 122 yards and three touchdowns to help the team earn its first win of the season. With Peterson running hard and the defense playing better, Minnesota could be a competitive team the remainder of the way.
NFL Betting Preview: Chicago Bears
Even with three losses through five games the Bears still feel as if they have the talent to turn things around, but any chance at reaching the postseason will be lost unless they can win this week. Chicago has a tough schedule, and while the offense has had its share of struggles, the defense has been even worse and ranks in the bottom five in the NFL against both the run and pass heading in to this week. Things have spiraled downward in a hurry for head coach Lovie Smith and his staff, and the pressure is now on for a team that entered the year with championship expectations.
NFL Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick
That pressure of expectations will only hurt the Bears the rest of the way, and in hindsight perhaps this team does have too many holes to be considered a legitimate contender. Minnesota isn’t that much better than Chicago, but with Peterson carrying the load on offense and a demonstrated improvement on defense, the Vikings should be able to rally without any pressure at all on the road this sports betting bonus weekend.
NFL Betting Pick: Minnesota Vikings