Bears vs Vikings : The Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings will close out the regular season against each other in Week 17. The contest will feature a Bears team still in the running for a first-round bye and a Vikings team fighting to get into the playoffs. This game was originally scheduled for a 12:00 p.m. CT start before it was flexed into the 3:25 p.m. CT slot for Sunday.
The NFL also flexed the Cleveland Browns vs. the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers into 3:25 p.m. CT starts. The Indianapolis Colts against the Tennessee Titans got flexed into the Sunday Night Football spot. All four of the games that were flexed have playoff implications.
How to Watch
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium
When: 3:25 p.m. CT on December 30
TV: Joe Buck (play-by-play), Troy Aikman (color analyst) and Erin Andrews (sideline reporter)
Local Radio: WBBM-780AM – Jeff Joniak (play-by-play), Tom Thayer (color analyst) and Mark Grote (sideline reporter)
Chicago enters the game averaging 26.5 points per game on offense and is giving up just 18.2 points per game on defense. The Vikings are averaging 23.3 points per game on offense and the defense is giving up 21.1 points per game. The Bears hold a major advantage in turnover differential. Chicago enters the game at plus-12 while the Vikings sit at zero. The Bears have taken the ball away 36 times and have given it away 24 times. The Vikings have taken the ball away 20 times and have given it up 20 times.
The rivalry between the Bears and the Vikings dates back to 1961 when Minnesota was an expansion team. Minnesota won the first meeting between the two squads and holds a 60-53-2 all-time record in 115 meetings. The Bears had a solid run against Minnesota in the early 2010s before the Vikings rattled off six victories in seven meetings between December 2014 and the end of the 2017 season.
The Bears and Vikings last met on November 18 on Sunday Night Football. Chicago walked away with a 25-20 victory that night and had the win sealed with an interception returned for a touchdown by Pro Bowl safety Eddie Jackson. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky completed 20 of his 31 passing attempts for 165 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins finished the evening with 262 passing yards on 30 completions with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Bears head coach Matt Nagy noted earlier this year that Chicago’s win over the Vikings in November was the turning point for the organization this year.
“I think [the win over the Vikings] kind of just really embedded into our players the true belief of how they felt where we could go,” Nagy said, via Larry Mayer of ChicagoBears.com. “You talk about it, but when do you really start believing it? That was probably a time that I’ll look back and think that’s when we turned the corner.”
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If Chicago falls to the Vikings on Sunday it is possible the two teams could meet in the first round of the playoffs the following week.