Bears Dominate Texans!
The Chicago Bears (6-7) finally dominated on Sunday, beating the Houston Texans (4-9) by a score of 36-7. It was easily the best team performance of the season. Everything worked. It was long overdue and refreshing. The Bears last won on October 18. Their next victory was December 13, and the funny thing is they still have a chance at the NFC Playoffs. It’s not probable, but it’s possible. Before previewing what’s next for Chicago, let’s recap this fantastic performance at Soldier Field.
RB #32 David Montgomery – Chicago’s running game has gotten better every week since the quarterback switch from Nick Foles back to Mitch Trubisky. David Montgomery has been the beneficiary of a more cohesive offensive line, a quarterback that gets the team into good running plays, and the switch in playcalling from HC Matt Nagy to OC Bill Lazor. Obviously Montgomery is also getting into a rhythm and running very well lately. On the Bears opening play on Sunday, Montgomery took it to the house from 80 yards out! For the game he had only 11 carries for 113 yards and the one score, but the tone he set with that opening run gave the team confidence which extended throughout the game.
WR #12 Allen Robinson – A week after his horrible decision to step out of bounds before getting the first down in the devastating loss to Detroit, Allen Robinson redeemed himself with a solid performance versus Houston. He caught 9 passes for 123 yards and 1 TD on 13 targets. We’ve analyzed Robinson for years now and even though I don’t think he’s a true number one receiver, he’s definitely a consistent possession receiver that can be counted on as a professional in the passing game. When he becomes a free agent after this season, it’s going to be a really tough decision for GM Ryan Pace (or whoever is Bears GM at that point) on what to do with Robinson. Is he worth a long-term contract for big money? The Bears need a dominant receiver on the outside and I just don’t see Robinson as that guy. He’s good, don’t get me wrong, but he’s more Alvin Harper than Michael Irvin. He’s more John Taylor than Jerry Rice. He’s an excellent #2 but he’s not quite a #1.
ILB #58 Roquan Smith – We seem to talk about Roquan Smith every week, and that’s because he’s awesome. After a couple of down weeks, Roquan returned to his dominant self with a huge performance against Deshaun Watson and the Texans. Smith totaled 12 tackles (8 solo), 3 QB hits, and 2 sacks. Roquan has had an All-Pro type of season and these stats will help him earn that award. For the year he now has 122 total tackles (85 solo stops), 4 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 5 passes defended, and 13 stuffs. He leads the NFL in solo tackles and is third in total tackles. If Smith keeps playing like this, he’s on his way to Canton.
Player of the Game
QB #10 Mitch Trubisky – We are so happy for Trubisky because despite all the negativity, the adversity, and the injuries, he’s putting together a nice comeback story. In this game, Mitch completed 24 of 33 passes for 267 yards and 3 TD’s. He had no interceptions or turnovers to lead the Bears to the victory. After getting benched during that third game at Atlanta, Trubisky has gotten back in the saddle to put the Bears management in a tough spot moving forward into 2021 and the future. However, that’s a good position to be in for Ryan Pace (or the new GM) because at least he’s an option for the future, whereas Nick Foles looks more and more like yet another bust at QB for Chicago’s franchise. Can Trubisky be the man? I think there’s still a chance. As usual, the money will be a tough part of the decision. What if the Bears finally found their quarterback, after all these years, only to let him go after he improved? Whether it’s Pace’s decision or a new GM’s, it looks like a really tough choice. I know we’re still speculating when there’s still three games left but that’s what we do here on Dutch Lion Sports. If it were my decision, I think I’d give Trubisky another contract. Why not? He might be the guy. At this point in time, I can’t let another team figure that out.
Chicago Bears (6-7) at Minnesota Vikings (6-7)
In what translates to a likely elimination game on Sunday, the Bears travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. Both teams need a win or three to put themselves in a position to get the NFC’s 3rd Wild Card berth. To recap this year’s postseason format, the top seven teams from each conference make the playoffs: four division winners and three wild cards. Only the top seed gets a bye with three wild card games featuring #2 vs #7, #3 vs #6, and #4 vs #5.
Green Bay has already clinched the NFC North title and is currently in the #1 spot. Seattle and the L.A. Rams are both 9-4 so one will be a division winner and one will be a Wild Card. Tampa is 8-5, so they will likely get a Wild Card. Who gets the third Wild Card? Right now the Arizona Cardinals are 7-6. They hold the one game lead over both the Bears and Vikings.
One would think the winner of this game would have to go 9-7 and hopefully beat out Arizona to make the NFC Playoff field. Therefore, this is a big game. Let’s take a look at the numbers:
Troy Aikman’s Efficiency Ratings (AER)
- Chicago Bears (6-7) : 18th overall, 25th offense, 10th defense
- Minnesota Vikings (6-7) : 11th overall, 9th offense, 14th defense
- Chicago : 15th overall, 26th offense, 7th defense, 9th special teams
- Minnesota : 18th overall, 11th offense, 12th defense, 31st special teams
Sports Betting Dime
According to Sports Betting Dime, Minnesota is favored by 3 points. In the SBD preview, they give the edge to the Vikings and predict a Minnesota victory by 17.9-8.4.
Last week we picked the Bears to beat the Texans 27-23. It was almost hard to do since Chicago was riding that six game losing streak. Luckily, we did because after the Bears dominated 36-7, it would have seemed silly to pick that lousy Texans team to win. The victory moves us to 11-2 for the year with our only losses coming in the first Vikings game at Soldier Field and then the Lions game two weeks later, also at Soldier. Outside of those two bad ballgames, we’re perfect. So what’s next?
The “Dutch Lion” is having a really hard time deciding on whom to pick this week. Here’s why: Minnesota is favored by 3 points at home in U.S. Bank Stadium. Like the Bears, the Vikings are super inconsistent. They are a very mediocre team. As you know, they are 6-7. At home, they are only 2-5. As a favorite they are only 2-5. As a home favorite, they are only 1-5.
But then we look at the Bears and we know how inconsistent this team has been in 2020. On the road, Chicago is 3-3. As an underdog, the Bears are 6-5. As a road ‘dog, just 3-3. A few weeks ago the Vikings went into Soldier Field and won 19-13. We thought the Bears would win that one but it was a low point in their season. Since then, Trubisky is back in the saddle and the offense has scored 25, 30, and 36 points in their last three games.
Another thing to consider are the injuries. Two of the Bears top three cornerbacks are out for this game: CB #33 Jaylon Johnson (shoulder) and CB #24 Buster Skrine (concussion). That’s not good when you’re facing an offense with QB Kirk Cousins throwing to multiple fantastic WR’s in Adam Thielen and Jordan Jefferson. Don’t forget about RB #33 Dalvin Cook. He’s second in the NFL in rushing yards with 1352, behind only Derrick Henry, and tied for first in rushing TD’s with 14. So you can’t dismiss the Vikings running game even though you’re worried about covering those receivers. Good thing TE Kyle Rudolph is out with an injury, as well as LB Eric Kendricks.
Under Matt Nagy, the Bears are 4-1 against the Vikings. That’s a big reason we picked them to beat Minny a few weeks ago. It didn’t happen, but now Trubisky is back and the offense has arisen. Can Chicago stop the high-powered Vikes offense? It will be tough but maybe Cousins turns it over a couple of times. Can the Bears score on the Vikings once-dominant defense? I think so. The Vikes aren’t nearly as good on D as they used to be with those pass-rushers now gone (Danielle Hunter is on IR and Everson Griffen is on Detroit). In a virtual toss-up game, we’re going to pick….. the Bears. PICK: Chicago
Chicago Bears 21 Minnesota Vikings 20
Enjoy the game and Merry Christmas to all you loyal readers!