Chicago faced a must-win game at Minnesota last Sunday and came through with a big victory over the Vikings 33-27. Suddenly the Bears have won two in a row to even their record at 7-7 and get themselves back into the NFC Playoff picture.
If the Bears can win their last two games and overtake Arizona who is 8-6 (UPDATE: The Cardinals lost on Saturday to the 49ers to fall to 8-7), then Chicago can grab the NFC’s seventh seed in the expanded playoff field. The Bears hold the tiebreaker over the Cardinals based on records against common opponents.
So as long as the Bears win both of their last two games at Jacksonville and versus Green Bay, then the Bears will make the NFC Playoffs. In fact, even if Chicago goes 1-1 over these last two games, they could still beat out the Cardinals as long as Arizona loses their last game of the regular season to the Los Angeles Rams. Check out this story for more on the Bears tiebreakers against Arizona.
DT #98 Bilal Nichols – Nichols has stood out recently. In the Vikings game, Nichols had 7 total tackles, a sack, and three QB hits. Even though the Bears defense didn’t play very good for most of the day, they stepped up on key plays when Minnesota faced 4th down and 1 situations. Nichols gets a Game Ball for this week, but it’s really recognition for his solid body of work this season.
C #67 Sam Mustipher & the Offensive Line – The Bears offensive line has gotten so much better lately. From all accounts, it sounds like the new center moved up from the practice squad is the biggest reason. Sam Mustipher has been playing well lately and making the Bears line a cohesive unit. The Bears line blocked so well at Minnesota that the team ran for 199 yards on 42 carries and two rushing touchdowns. It looks like Mustipher will have a future after this year along with Cody Whitehair and the currently injured James Daniels on the interior of the line. Current RG Alex Bars could be the top backup at guard. An Offensive Tackle is still an offseason priority.
K #2 Cairo Santos – We don’t talk about Cairo Santos enough but this guy is huh, huh, huh hot right now. He made all four field goals in this game as well as all three PAT attempts. Bears fans used to clamor for former kicker Robbie Gould. That’s all munk now. Santos is the man. He’s made 25-27 FG’s this season including his career long 55 yarder. His 92.6% rate is tied for 7th in the NFL and his 25 total made FG’s is tied for 9th most. He’s made 30-31 PAT’s, which is the 8th best rate in the league. What a fantastic year for Santos!
QB #10 Mitch Trubisky – Mitch is really playing some great ball since he regained his starting job against Green Bay a few weeks ago. Trubisky played so well in this game, controlling it until his one mistake which was an interception in the red zone on a pass to the end zone. Other than that play, which we feel was a defensive pass interference that went uncalled on the Vikings DB covering WR #12 Allen Robison, Trubisky was flawless. He got the Bears into the right calls so that they could run the ball effectively. As for passing, he completed 15 of 21 for 202 yards and one TD. He also rushed 8 times for 34 yards. The Bears have now scored over 30 points or more in three straight games, which is the franchise’s longest streak since 2013. Since Trubisky led the Bears to 25 points in the Packers game on November 29, the team has scored 25, 30, 36, and 33 for the franchise’s longest streak of 25 points or more since 1995. What if the Bears have finally found their quarterback? Fans have been waiting for a solid franchise quarterback for decades. In his fourth season, I believe Trubisky is now that man. Can you imagine if the Bears let him go this offseason? That would be so “Bears”. It would be the capper on 70 years of Bears incompetence at the position. Hopefully they don’t make that mistake. We think Mitch is finally breaking through and will be a really good, maybe very good quarterback for the rest of his career.
Player of the Game
RB #32 David Montgomery – David Montgomery gets our “Player of the Game” Award in this Vikings game. He rushed 32 times for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also had one catch for 16 yards. Montgomery has been a man on a mission lately, rushing for over 100 yards in three of his last four games. His 146 yards was a new career high, breaking his previous record of 135 in the Chargers game in 2019. We’re finally seeing how good Montgomery is now that the line is blocking decently, the play-caller is calling his number, and the scheme with the quarterback under center with a play-action heavy game plan has been installed. Montgomery has always broken tackles with his slippery style. Now the whole world is taking notice.
Chicago Bears (7-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-13)
On paper, this is a decided mismatch. But this is the NFL, which means anything could happen on any given Sunday. How will it play out on the field on Sunday at Noon?
Troy Aikman’s AER (using the most recent update from December 16)
- Chicago Bears (7-7) : 18th overall, 25th offense, 10th defense
- Jacksonville Jaguars (1-13) : 30th overall, 26th offense, 29th defense
- Chicago : 15th overall, 26th offense, 7th defense, 10th special teams
- Jacksonville : 31st overall, 25th offense, 31st defense, 18th special teams
Sports Betting Dime
According to Sports Betting Dime, the Bears are favored by 7.5 points over the Jaguars. In the SBD preview, they calculate Chicago winning 16.2-10.1.
Last week we had an admittedly tough decision to make on our prediction. We were torn on what we viewed as a virtual “pick-em” game and ended up picking Chicago to win 21-20 over the Vikings. It ended up being a higher scoring game than we thought as Trubisky led the Bears to 33 points as they held on in a tight game 33-27.
Chicago Bears : 7-7
Dutch Lion : 12-2 (This is our best year of Bears predictions in the 5 years we’ve been previewing games.)
- 2016: 10-6
- 2017: 9-7
- 2018: 11-6
- 2019: inconclusive as of press time
- 2020: 12-2 so far
This week’s game is a mismatch. Chicago has motivation. Jacksonville is bad and just playing out the schedule. The Bears should win, but can they follow through and dominate the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars? The Jags are tied with the Jets for the worst record in the NFL and currently they hold the rights to the #1 overall draft selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. So the organization is most likely hoping for two more losses to close out 2020 and “earn” that #1 pick. But of course, the players could mostly care less about that. They are playing to win the game.
On top of everything else, Jaguars star RB James Robinson has an ankle injury and will miss the game, so that’s another advantage for Chicago. He’s probably the best player on their team, so that is a significant loss. Meanwhile, former Bears QB Mike Glennon is starting at quarterback for the Jags after winning the competition with Gardner Minshew to start at QB this week.
As for the Bears, can the offense continue it’s recent surge? On the other side of the ball, can the defense hold a team to under 20 points, something they’ve only done once (Texans scored 7 points) since October 18? We think Chicago will definitely find success in Florida. PICK Chicago
Chicago Bears 27 Jacksonville Jaguars 13