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Chicago at Minnesota

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Chicago
Bears
5-10
4th NFC NORTH
(1-4)
Sunday, December 28, 2014 - 1:00 PM EST
TV: FOX
Avg. Yds (Rk)CategoryAvg. Yds (Rk)
241.8 (13th)Pass Off.203.6 (26th)
89.5 (26th)Rush Off.112.2 (15th)
269.3 (31st)Pass Def.227.1 (8th)
112.1 (16th)Rush Def.122.9 (25th)
TCF Bank Stadium
Minneapolis, Minn.
a mixture of sun and clouds. Chilly. 23 F, Wind: 8.29 mph/SE
Minnesota
Vikings
6-9
3rd NFC NORTH
(0-5)
 
  • Just when it looked like Jay Cutler may have played his last snap in a Chicago Bears uniform, coach Marc Trestman is turning back to the enigmatic quarterback. Sunday's season finale against the host Minnesota Vikings could mark the end for both key figures.

    General manager Phil Emery, offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker could also be gone after the Bears (5-10) missed the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years. Though it's hard to put all the blame on Cutler, his play has been especially disappointing after agreeing to a seven-year deal in January. He leads the NFL with 18 interceptions and 24 turnovers and ranks 17th in QB rating at 89.5.

    Cutler was benched in favor of Jimmy Clausen ahead of last Sunday's 20-14 loss to Detroit, but he's getting another shot with Clausen unable to go due to a concussion suffered on the game's final drive.

    "Jay gives us the best chance this week. And so that's why. That's why he'll be out there," Trestman said. "I believe that Jay can work his way out of this. And I've enjoyed coaching him and working with him. And we had dialogue last week. And we worked together last week. It was a tough week on him. I empathize with him on that. But we're moving forward, both with the idea that we've worked together for a long time and that hasn't changed."

    Cutler is owed more than $15 million in 2015, but it remains to be seen if he'll be back with the team.

    "I feel really bad for Jay," injured kicker Robbie Gould told a local radio station. "When you're having a tough season like this, he's not the guy to be the scapegoat. ... There's a lot of guys you can put that blame on."

    Trestman's future also remains in limbo after going 13-18 since replacing Lovie Smith last season. Chicago has averaged just 20.7 points after scoring 27.8 per game in 2013 to rank second in the NFL.

    The Bears have been outscored by an average of 13.0 points during a four-game losing streak, their longest since dropping five in a row Nov. 27-Dec. 25, 2011.

    Chicago hasn't tasted victory since getting the best of Smith in a 21-13 win over Tampa Bay on Nov. 23. The Bears held on to beat Minnesota by the same score the week before as Cutler threw for 330 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.

    Cutler has recorded 20 TD passes and 11 picks in winning seven of his last eight starts in the series. However, Chicago has dropped nine of 12 at Minnesota after suffering a 23-20 overtime defeat Dec. 1, 2013, with Josh McCown under center.

    The Vikings (6-9) have also encountered their fair share of drama after losing All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson to suspension back in Week 2. The two-time NFL rushing leader was indicted in September on a felony charge of injury to a child and is anything but certain to return next year.

    However, there remains optimism around the team thanks in large part to Teddy Bridgewater's recent play. The 32nd overall pick in this year's draft has thrown two TD passes in four of the last five weeks, a stretch during which Minnesota has averaged 26.2 points to rank ninth in the NFL.

    "It's pretty incredible to me what he's done, how he's handled it, the things he's gotten done and what he's really done is made everyone around him better and that's a quality that you're looking for,'' offensive coordinator Norv Turner said.

    Bridgewater completed 19 of 26 passes for 259 yards with two TDs and an interception in last Sunday's wild 37-35 loss at Miami. Minnesota was outscored 23-18 in the fourth quarter, including 9-0 over the final 1:11 after allowing the winning safety with 41 seconds to go.

    "One of the worst defensive performances I've seen in a long time," said coach Mike Zimmer, whose team gave up a season-worst 493 yards of offense. "All of the things I've been trying to preach for 11 months, we didn't do."

    Minnesota will need to be wary of Bears wideout Alshon Jeffery, who's hauled in seven touchdowns over the last six games. Jeffery has 23 receptions for 384 yards and three scores in his last two against the Vikings.

    Matt Forte has compiled 326 total yards in those contests, but he hasn't scored against Minnesota since his 2008 rookie season. Forte is averaging 118.1 yards from scrimmage to rank fourth in the NFL.

    Vikings running back Matt Asiata is tied for third in the league with nine rushing TDs after scoring three times in the last two weeks.

    This marks Jared Allen's first return to Minnesota, where he spent the previous six years before signing with Chicago in March. Allen had five tackles and a sack against his former team last month, but his 5 1/2 sacks on the season are his fewest since recording a career-low 7 1/2 in 2006.

    The Bears placed defensive end Willie Young on injured reserve with a torn Achilles suffered last week. Minnesota released little-used running back Ben Tate on Tuesday.

    Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
  • 1419540199
    Gary Kubiak, Joe Flacco, Marshal Yanda and more know it's a necessity that Baltimore get back to running the ball well.
    1419537174
    Panthers defensive line coach Eric Washington was happy to play the role of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.
    1419530788
    A Giants fan photo-shopped some players and the coach into a very interesting Christmas photo.
    1419527032
    If the Lions want to win the NFC North this year, they'll have to buck plenty of history.
    1419526024
    The special teamers posed for game-situation photos, while the defensive line got in on the ugly Christmas sweater craze.
  • Offensive Matchup

    Total Yards
    Per Game
    331.3
    315.8
    Passing Yards
    Per Game
    241.8
    203.6
    Rushing Yards
    Per Game
    89.5
    112.2
    Points Per Game
    20.7
    20.8
    Third Down
    Conversion %
    38.5
    37.8
    Time of
    Possesion
    29:57
    28:44
    Bears
    Vikings

    Defensive Matchup

    Total Yards
    Per Game
    381.5
    350.1
    Passing Yards
    Per Game
    269.3
    227.1
    Rushing Yards
    Per Game
    112.1
    122.9
    Points Per Game
    28.6
    22.3
    Third Down
    Conversion %
    41.4
    42.6
    Bears
    Vikings
  • Chicago Injuries
    DatePosPlayerInjuryNFL StatusFantasy News
    12/22/14QBJimmy ClausenConcussionOUTBears coach Marc Trestman will turn back to Jay Cutler after Chicago announced that Jimmy Clausen will not play Week 17 against Minnesota due to delayed symptoms of a concussion.
    12/21/14DBChris ConteBackOUTFour injured or ailing Bears have been ruled out for the Sunday game against Detroit, including placekicker Robbie Gould (quad). The others are guard Kyle Long (hip), defensive tackle Will Sutton (illness) and safety Chris Conte (back).
    12/21/14KRobbie GouldRight quadricepsOUTBears kicker Robbie Gould told WSCR 670 AM radio in Chicago he'll sit out the final game of the season because of a nagging right quadriceps injury, reports the Chicago Tribune. Gould converted 9 of 12 field goal attempts, adding 28 extra points. Jay Feely will take over as the starter for the fourth consecutive game.
    12/21/14DLWill SuttonIllnessOUTFour injured or ailing Bears have been ruled out for the Sunday game against Detroit, including placekicker Robbie Gould (quad). The others are guard Kyle Long (hip), defensive tackle Will Sutton (illness) and safety Chris Conte (back).
    Minnesota Injuries
    DatePosPlayerInjuryNFL StatusFantasy News
    12/21/14LBAnthony BarrKneeOUTThe Vikings listed tight end Kyle Rudolph as inactive Sunday at Miami. Rudolph was listed as doubtful with a knee and ankle injury.
    12/21/14LBChad GreenwayKneeLEFTVikings linebacker Chad Greenway did not travel back to Minneapolis with the team. Instead he flew to San Diego to tend to a personal matter, coach Mike Zimmer told reporters on Monday, per the Star-Tribune. Greenway left Sunday's loss against Miami with a knee injury. Zimmer said he's unsure if he'll be able to play Week 17 against Chicago.
    12/21/14TEKyle RudolphAnkle, kneeOUTVikings tight end Kyle Rudolph remained unable to practice Thursday due to knee and ankle injuries, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. It appears he'll miss his second straight game Sunday against Chicago, with Chase Ford getting another start.
  • Expert Picks
    Straight UpAgainst the Spread
    MIN -7.5 *
    expert photoPete Prisco
    VikingsVikings
    BearsBears
    expert photoWill Brinson
    BearsBears
    expert photoJosh Katzowitz
    VikingsBears
    expert photoRyan Wilson
    BearsBears
    expert photoJohn Breech
    VikingsVikings
    expert photoDave Richard
    VikingsBears
    VikingsVikings
    expert photoPrediction Machine
    VikingsN/A
    * Line at the time that expert picks were published.
 
 
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