Minnesota (5-1) at Chicago (1-6)
When: Monday, October 31st 2016
Where: Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
Time: 8:30 ET | TV: ESPN
The Minnesota Vikings will try and bounce back from their first loss of the season when they visit the Chicago Bears on Halloween night at Soldier Field. More scary than the fans dressed up in costumes tonight might be the return of quarterback Jay Cutler, who missed several weeks with a thumb injury suffered in Week 2. There was a published report that Bears coach John Fox told friends that he is “done” with the veteran quarterback after this season. While Fox denied the report by the Chicago Tribune, insisting there’s “absolutely no truth” to it, Cutler acknowledged: “He doesn’t have a choice, I guess, at this point.” Brian Hoyer, who replaced Cutler, broke his arm in last Thursday night’s game in Green Bay. Cutler will try and jump-start an offense that is ranked dead last in points (15.9) and 25th in rushing (87.9). The defense is doing their part to keep Chicago in games, ranking 12th in the league in yards allowed (350.4), but 20th in points (24.1).
The Vikings suffered their first loss of the season last week in Philadelphia after coming into that game off a bye week. Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer would not blame the bye week for stalling his team’s momentum, instead pointing to a slew of mistakes that included four turnovers, six quarterback sacks and a kickoff return for a touchdown allowed. Quarterback Sam Bradford had six touchdowns and zero interceptions in his first four starts but was picked off once and lost a pair of fumbles last week in the 21-10 loss against his former team. Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson has 16 receptions and two touchdowns over the last three games but missed practice this week with a concussion. He is listed as probable for Monday. With no running game, the Vikings are ranked 31st in total offense and 30th in rushing. Something the Bears are looking to key on.
Chicago’s defense is not that bad. Their offense keeps putting them in difficult positions by not being able to move the ball. Cutler’s return seems like a down-grade, but I think he lights a spark in the offense. I don’t trust Minnesota’s offense to score enough points to cover the spread.
Pick: Bears +6