The Vikes lost their first game of the Josh Dobbs era last week, but maintained their position in the NFC wild card picture. The Bears dropped Justin Fields' return-from-injury game in dramatic fashion against the Lions, and now sit at just 3-8.
Minnesota needs to win to keep pace with the other wild card teams and maintain some semblance of contact in the NFC North, while Chicago is more so playing out the string for draft position and evaluation purposes. Still, a division game can always be interesting, and both teams surely want to head into their respective bye weeks feeling good.
So, can the Vikings keep pace in the NFC playoff picture, or will the Bears deal their division rivals a blow? We'll find out soon enough. Before we break down the matchup, here's a look at how you can watch the game.
How to watch
Date: Monday, Nov. 27 | Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
Location: US Bank Stadium (Minneapolis)
TV: ABC/ESPN | Stream on fubo (try for free)
Follow: CBS Sports App
Odds: Vikings -3, O/U 43 (via Sportsline consensus odds)
When the Bears have the ball
Justin Fields returned from injury last week to complete 16 of 23 passes (69.6%) for 169 yards (7.4 YPA) and a touchdown, while also running an incredible 18 times for 104 yards. His 13 designed runs were his most in a game this season, and in fact the most of his career to date. There are only two instances of a quarterback having more designed runs than that at any time in the last three years: Lamar Jackson (14) against the Chiefs in 2021, and Taysom Hill (14) against the Eagles last year.
Why, exactly, the Bears studiously avoided using Fields in the run game quite so often earlier this season is a mystery, but it's clear that leaning into the best parts of his skill set should be the basis of their offensive plan. Minnesota has actually done a good job against the QB run game so far this year, including holding Jalen Hurts to just 35 yards on 12 carries. (He had only 18 yards on his six designed runs that were not Tush Pushes.)
Defensive coordinator Brian Flores has dialed up an absurd volume of blitzes throughout the season, and they have the Vikings checking in ninth in FTN's defensive DVOA, as well as ninth against both the run and the pass. Flores has sent at least five rushes on 47% of opponent dropbacks, per Tru Media, while Fields has been blitzed more often (34.8%) than any quarterback save for Gardner Minshew and Brock Purdy. When facing five or more rushers, Fields ranks just 19th among qualified quarterbacks in EPA/play, and his sack rate has spiked to an outrageous 14.7% of dropbacks. He's also only scrambled away from 13.6% of pressured dropbacks, averaging 7 yards per scamper. When not blitzed, Fields' sack rate is 11%, his scramble rate is 21.1%, and he's averaged 9.2 yards per scramble.
Pick Six Newsletter
Crafted By The Best NFL Experts
Get the day's big stories + fun stuff you love like mock drafts, picks and power rankings.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Fields should have some advantages on the outside with D.J. Moore against Minnesota's corners, who for the most part been easily beatable in coverage this season. Moore has receiving lines of 8-131-1, 8-230-3, 5-51-0, and 7-96-1 in Fields' last four starts, and given how often the Bears have been moving him around the formation they should be able to generate favorable matchups.
Chicago will be without D'Onta Foreman for this game, which means we should see a split between Khalil Herbert and rookie Roschon Johnson in the backfield. Herbert (4.6 yards per carry) and Johnson (4.5) have each run fairly well so far this season, but it's notable that Foreman has the highest rushing success rate of the trio despite having played the least amount of time alongside Fields. Minnesota has been a "bend but don't break" kind of run defense, getting beat at the line of scrimmage but limiting chunk gains with tackling in the open field. Neither back seems likely to rip off a long run, but Fields' ability to erase tackling angles could lead to some big gains.
When the Vikings have the ball
He's yet to be officially ruled out, but it sounds like the Vikings will again be without star wide receiver Justin Jefferson for this one, as the team will let him rest up through the Week 13 bye before returning for the stretch run. In his absence, Josh Dobbs has largely locked in on T.J. Hockenson as his go-to pass-catcher, with Hockenson racking up 22 receptions for 258 yards and a score over the past three weeks.
Chicago's pass defense has left much to be desired throughout this season, with the team allowing opponents to complete 68.4% of passes at an average of 7.0 yards per attempt with 22 touchdowns against just nine interceptions, but the Bears have done well against opposing tight ends. They rank third in the NFL in DVOA on throws to the position, which is perhaps unsurprising given their dual signings of Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards this past offseason.
It's easier to beat the Chicago defense on the perimeter, which could push Dobbs into throwing more often to Jordan Addison and K.J. Osborn. After going off in Jefferson's absence while Kirk Cousins was still healthy, Addison has a mere 12 receptions for 165 scoreless yards since Dobbs took over under center. This game should provide an opportunity for him to get back on track.
Rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson has been a popular target for opposing defenses, with only two corners in the NFL being thrown at more often so far this season, per Pro Football Focus. Stevenson has allowed a league-high seven touchdowns in coverage, but he's also been better of late and is coming off arguably his best game of the season last week against the Lions.
However they choose to attack through the air, it certainly seems like that's how the Vikings will have to move the ball in this matchup. Their run game has been a disaster all season, and the Bears have actually emerged as one of the best rush defenses in the league. They check in 11th in DVOA against the run, and have been even better since getting healthier on that side of the ball. Alexander Mattison and Ty Chandler ran well last week against the Broncos, but that's not unusual for Broncos opponents. Otherwise this season, the ground game has been mostly inept and it seems unlikely that it will suddenly bounce back here.
Prediction: Vikings 24, Bears 20
If you're wondering who all of our experts are picking for the game, here are their predictions below. And do yourself a favor and check out SportsLine stats geek R.J. White's breakdown of this matchup -- R.J.'s 58-34-4 (+2076) in his last 96 ATS picks involving Minnesota and has cashed twice in the prestigious Westgate SuperContest -- right here.