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Vikings at Bears Preview

December 03, 2006

NFL Football: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears 1:00 PM ET

On Sunday, 14 games grace the NFL board, and of the early action, the Bears will try to rebound from a loss to New England by turning back the Vikings and wrapping up the NFC North Division.

These two rivals played a competitive contest back in September with the host Vikings on the short end of a 19-16 decision. However, Minnesota covered the spread in that game and is 31-15 ATS vs. good offensive teams - scoring 24 or more points per game since 1992. Plus, Chicago is listed as a double-digit favorite, strange for a rivalry game of this magnitude.

Chicago is welcomed home after three road games with a snowy beginning to the weekend. With five weeks to go, Coach Lovie Smith's challenge is to keep the team focused and motivated before the playoffs. Even though the Vikings are no threat in NFC North, a division game can only help the Bears.

Chicago needs work on reducing turnovers, with 19 in the last six weeks. Rex Grossman was praised early for gunslinger attitude and now is being criticized for the same mentality. At least the running game is coming around averaging 138.4 yards per game the last five; bring them up to 15th overall.

Minnesota will try and defy Chicago's ground attack with the best rush defense in the NFL at 55.7 YPG. Part of the reason this figure is so low, passing the pigskin is a much easier way to move the ball against Minnesota. Opposing teams have thrown for 345 yards or more in three of last five games. The secondary coverage's are so simple a moderately familiar NFL John Madden XBox user could break these down.

The underdog has had marvelous success in this Midwest battle with 15-2 ATS mark since 1995. Also of note these rough and tumble contests have tended to play Under with 8-3-1 record.

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