What a season it has been. The NFL has been full of ups and downs this year, and this is especially true for both the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings. However, as the year winds down with this final set of regular season games, Chicago is not set to see its season end with a bang, but with a whimper.
Sunday’s game is probably going to be a game of backups and practice squad players. Many Bears starters won’t be on the field, as quarterback Justin Fields has already been listed out due to hip injuries. That leaves longtime NFL quarterback Nathan Peterman to start, working with a beat-up team with a myriad of substitutes. On the bright side, this does mean some developmental players might take the field, and Bears fans and staff can gauge individuals for potential talent. On the other hand, this game might appear rather unenthusiastic, as the Chicago Bears really don’t want to win. A loss here coupled with a Houston Texans victory locks the Bears in for the #1 draft pick. They would most likely use it to trade away for high draft capital. The Bears 2022 – 2023 season is basically over, and this game is only occurring because it has to.
On the other side of the field, the situation is a bit more murky. The Vikings have yet to announce their exact plans for the game, but it is expected their starters will at least play part of the game. The question of how long the starters will play and which starters will play is still up in the air. While the Vikings have clinched a playoff spot no matter what, the outcome of this game could have monumental consequences. That being said, the Vikings might also want to consider losing this game, meaning there are two teams clashing who don’t really want to win. The problem lies with this – right now the Vikings are the #3 seed, but could move up into the #2 with a win and a San Francisco 49ers loss. However, they may want to avoid moving up as best they can. The #3 seed guarantees their first game to be against the New York Giants, a team they’ve already beaten this season and who are probably considered one of the weaker playoff teams as of right now. If they move up to the #2 seed, they have to play the #7 seed, which could either be the Seattle Seahawks, the Detroit Lions, or the Green Bay Packers. The Vikings probably wouldn’t mind playing the Seahawks, but the other two are dangerous, being division rivals. This season, the Vikings went 1-1 against the Lions, with their win only being by a narrow four point margin. They are also 1-1 against the Packers, but their first game, a victory, was very early in the season. Their second game was just last week, where they got trounced 41-17. It is safe to say they would not be eager to revisit their division opponent, who has been heating up and is ready to storm into the playoffs.
All that being said, there is a lot at stake across the NFL this week, but not so much for the Bears. It’s time for the season to wind-down, and put a cap on the NFC North Report’s inaugural coverage of the Chicago Bears regular season.
23 – 17 Vikings