Wednesday, October 12, 2011

JZN NFL Predictions vs. Spread: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (Week 6, 2011-12)


The Minnesota Vikings won their first game of the 2011-12 NFL season after four close calls. The Chicago Bears are trying to get everything together. Would Lovie Smith consider this as a must-win game? Or will the Bears fall to 0-3 in the division?

The early spread on this game is Bears (-2.5). Here are some of the key aspects of the game and what to watch out for in pick’ em leagues. All lines from Y! Sports and Injury Reports from CBS Sports as of October 11, 2011. Always update yourselves with injury lines because they’ll change throughout the week.

Current Personal Picks Record (Straights Only)
Chicago Bears 4-1
Minnesota Vikings 3-2

Key Injuries
DE Julius Peppers, WR Earl Bennett (Out), OT Gabe Carimi (Out), CB Antoine Winfield, DE Jared Allen (Probable)

Keys to the Game
  • These teams combine for 0-3 divisional record
  • Are the Vikings better than their 1-4 record indicates?
  • Can the Bears contain Adrian Peterson?
  • How much of a factor is Matt Forte
  • Donovan McNabb vs. Bears’ defense: Which weakness will have a good night?
  • Can the Vikings win close games?
  • Will Jay Cutler survive the season? Or even this game?
  • The Bears are playing on a short week after their Monday Night Football performance.

Summary
This is basically a do-or-die game for both teams. Lovie Smith may have been hesitant to label Week 5 as a must-win game. However, the Bears can’t fall to 2-4 with three losses in the division (two at home). They’d find themselves possibly trailing the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions by four games in the NFC North. For the Vikings? They’d be 1-5 with a 0-2 divisional record heading into their Week 7 tussle with the Packers.

It’s hard to believe that either of these teams are in this situation. The Vikings could be 4-1 or even undefeated with some better playcalling in the second half of games. The Bears just look old and like a shell of that NFC Championship representative last season.

The Bears’ run defense is hideous. They’re currently 28th in yardage allowed (135.6 yards per game) and they’re allowing 5.7 yards per attempt. That’s the worst mark in the league. The Vikings are also second in defensive sacks (16).

It’s hard to say with this game. I feel like the Vikings are the better team. However, I don’t feel like the Vikings can closeout games. They’ve already blown three double-digit leads this season. I’m also scared to pick them when they couldn’t win at Kansas City in Week 4. Chicago is still better than Kansas City.

Which team will make the fewest mistakes? I believe that’ll be huge in this outcome. I’m going with Vikings because I really think they care more about winning than Lovie Smith does.

Final Predictions:
Against the Spread: Minnesota Vikings (+2.5)
Straight: Minnesota Vikings 20, Chicago Bears 16

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