Bears

Three keys and prediction: Bears vs. Vikings

Three keys and prediction: Bears vs. Vikings

1. Hang on to the ball. It’s hard to see the Bears going into Minneapolis and winning while committing three turnovers, as they did against the Vikings at Soldier Field in Week 11. A sort of worrying trend for this Bears offense is a propensity for turnovers — over the last six games, this group has turned the ball over 13 times, as opposed to 11 in its first nine games. Mitch Trubisky and the Bears’ offense doesn’t need to do anything special (even moreso the case without Allen Robinson) but in what will be the Bears’ biggest road test to date, that may be all this team needs to hang with the Vikings.  
 
2. Shut down the run game. After firing offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, the Vikings have had a renewed commitment to the run, gaining a combined 320 yards on the ground in wins over the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions. Dalvin Cook, in particular, has been key in powering the Vikings’ offense, averaging 17 1/2 carries, 104 1/2 yards and a touchdown in those two games in the post-DeFilippo era. The Bears, though, held Cook to just 12 yards on nine carries at Soldier Field back in November. For Minnesota, Sunday will be the biggest test of offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski’s commitment to the run; for the Bears, it’ll be a test to see if this defense can stop the Vikings’ ground game if they play again in the playoffs.
 
Also worth noting, if the Bears are able to make the Vikings’ offense one-dimensional: Kirk Cousins, in 2016, had a win-and-in scenario in the final game of the season for Washington, but without a run game (15 carries, 38 yards) he struggled, throwing two interceptions while being sacked four times in a season-ending 19-10 loss to the New York Giants.
 
3. Stay healthy and be smart. Matt Nagy said he doesn’t want updates on the sideline about the Los Angeles Rams-San Francisco 49ers game, and players have maintained all week they won’t be scoreboard watching on Sunday. But if that Rams-49ers game swings in favor of Los Angeles — meaning the Bears would have no chance at earning a first-round bye — Nagy and his team will have to be smart about potentially pulling players to make sure they’re healthy for the playoffs. Don’t discount the Bears’ desire to eliminate the Vikings from the playoff picture (which would also require a Philadelphia Eagles win over Washington) but ultimately, the Bears will need to emerge from Week 17 as healthy and as prepared as possible for the playoffs.
 
Prediction: Vikings 20, Bears 16. The Bears actually haven’t faced a difficult road test since Week 1 this year, with their other trips either being against bad teams, in mediocre atmospheres or both. So facing a Vikings team with everything to lose in one of the better home environments in the NFL will not be easy, especially if the Rams are winning comfortably as the afternoon goes on. Losing to the Vikings, though, would not lower the Bears’ chances of advancing out of the wild card round — in the last 30 years, of the 14 times two teams have faced each other in Week 17 and then in the first round of the playoffs, the higher-seeded team has won 11 times.
 
Bonus prediction: Rams 31, 49ers 13. Ultimately, the Bears’ loss won’t matter with playoff seeding. The 49ers are a salty team, one that could very well give the Rams a tough game in Los Angeles. But the Rams beat the 49ers in San Francisco by 29 back in October, and while Sean McVay’s outfit hasn’t looked too inspiring recently, they’ll cruise to a win to lock up the No. 2 seed.

Bears sign LB Devante Bond to replace Roquan Smith on active roster

Bears sign LB Devante Bond to replace Roquan Smith on active roster

The loss of Roquan Smith to injured reserve on Monday (torn pec) created an obvious need for the Bears at linebacker on the depth chart.

Fellow starter Danny Trevathan will likely miss Sunday's game against the Packers as he continues to rehab his elbow injury, which leaves little depth behind Nick Kwiatkoski and Kevin Pierre-Louis, the reserves-turned-starters in Week 15.

As a result, Chicago signed former Buccaneers linebacker Devante Bond on Monday.

Bond, 26, was selected by Tampa Bay in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL draft after a strong career at Oklahoma and has six starts on his resume over the last three years. He was released by the Buccaneers on October 19 after being suspended by the NFL for four weeks for violating the league's PED policy. 

Bond will slide into a reserve role for the Bears.

Allen Robinson's 'Within Reach Foundation' hosts holiday shopping spree for Chicago Youth Centers

Allen Robinson's 'Within Reach Foundation' hosts holiday shopping spree for Chicago Youth Centers

Bears wide receiver has had his best stretch of the season recently, collecting at least 5 receptions and a touchdown in each of his last three games. But Robinson is taking the cake as perhaps the Bears MVP off the field too, as his "Within Reach Foundation" just accomplished an awesome goal in providing quite a great experience for a group of underprivileged youths. 

Robinson's Within Reach Foundation hosted 25 kids from the Chicago Youth Center and gave the kids an excellent experience that started with an early Christmas shopping spree for each kid. Also as a part of the event, each child received football with Robinson's autograph on it and a $150 gift card to Dick's Sporting Goods. 

"A lot of kids don't have things under the Christmas tree... being able to do this for kids is fun," stated Robinson. 

The ultimate goal of Robinson's Within Reach Foundation is to positively impact at least 5,000 students by the end of 2020 through their various outreach programs. 

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