What’s the narrative when one team with a mediocre offense visits another with a bad offense? The movement on the Bears-Vikings odds for NFL Monday Night Football will depend on whether Chicago’s defense can level the playing field.
The data suggests that 24 points could very well be enough to win this game. Both teams have their challenges to overcome in getting to that point.
But Bears fans will finally get the change they’ve been craving for weeks: head coach Matt Nagy has given up play calling duties. Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor will step in, and if nothing else, we’ll see how much of the blame Nagy deserves for the offensive woes up to this point.
Lazor will be working with a shorthanded unit, though. Starting running back David Montgomery is out, as is backup Tarik Cohen. The Bears are down to Cordarrelle Patterson and Ryan Nall at that position, and they’ll be running behind a banged up offensive line.
Latest Bears-Vikings odds at IL sportsbooks
The 5-4 Bears will host the 3-5 Vikings on ESPN at 7:20 p.m. CST on Monday, looking to keep pace with the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North along with stay in the wild card conversation.
Here are the latest odds at legal online sportsbooks in Illinois:
Chicago enters this game with one of the worst scoring offenses in the NFL. Only five of 32 teams in the league have scored fewer touchdowns than the Bears’ 19 through their first nine games.
On the other hand, Minnesota’s offense has been about average compared to the rest of the league. The Vikings have a decided advantage in action from the running game, netting 13 rushing touchdowns compared to just two for Chicago.
That struggle in the Bears’ rushing attack hasn’t been helped by inconsistency along the offensive line. At different points in the season, Chicago has been without as many as three starters on the OL.
The thing that has propelled the Bears to a winning record, thus far, has been the scoring defense. Chicago ranks second in overall passing and rushing touchdowns allowed. While the Bears are pretty average in terms of yards allowed, they’ve excelled in keeping opponents out of the end zone.
Playing at Soldier Field hasn’t necessarily given the Chicago offense a reprieve. The Bears average less than 18 points per game at home so far this season, and faring better on the road (21.4 points per game in five away contests).
This might be a week in which Chicago taps into the home-field advantage; Minnesota’s defensive struggles are almost as well-documented as the Bears’ problems on offense.
Minnesota’s problems keeping points off the board
Only the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys have given up more touchdown passes than the Vikings to date this season. Minnesota is averaging, allowing at least two of those per game.
The Vikings’ total for rushing touchdowns allowed is much better at just five, but it’s fair to ask whether that’s the result of teams being able to throw for scores so easily that they don’t attempt running plays in the red zone. Other stats point to that being the case.
While Minnesota’s defense has recorded six interceptions so far, which is about the league average, the Vikings have given up more yards through the air than all but four other teams. Opponents have completed 68% of pass attempts, average eight yards per attempt and have compiled a 105.1 quarterback rating against Minnesota through eight games.
If Chicago can exploit that weakness, it will give them their fifth consecutive outright win over the Vikings. Minnesota has also failed to cover the spread in each of their last four Monday night games, so that bodes well for the Bears as well.
This game will come down to whether Chicago can limit the Vikings’ offense just enough to exploit Minnesota’s weakness in terms of defending the pass eventually. Getting the Bears’ passing attack going may prove the more difficult part of that strategy.