Minnesota Vikings

Bears eliminate Vikings, will face Eagles in wild card round of NFL playoffs

Bears eliminate Vikings, will face Eagles in wild card round of NFL playoffs

MINNEAPOLIS — The Bears landed a knockout blow to the Minnesota Vikings with a 24-10 win at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday, ensuring they’ll play the Philadelphia Eagles in the wild card round of the playoffs next weekend. 

Matt Nagy left his starters in for the majority of the game, save for pulling right guard Kyle Long — who came off injured reserve on Saturday — during the second quarter. It wasn’t until the Bears took a two-score lead in the fourth quarter did Nagy pull most of his starters. That decision to keep his best and most important players in the game came even as the Los Angeles Rams cruised past the San Francisco 49ers, eliminating any shot the Bears had at earning a first-round bye. 

So the Bears, in their first playoff appearance in eight years, will face an Eagles team that’s won three games in a row, including two over division winners in the Los Angeles Rams and Houston Texans. Drawing the defending Super Bowl champions will be a difficult task next weekend — though the status of Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, who left Philadelphia’s win over Washington with a chest injury, will be worth monitoring this week. 

The Bears didn’t send any signals last week about which team they preferred to face, instead focusing on simply wanting to beat the Vikings and let the playoff picture shake itself out across the NFL Sunday afternoon. 

The Bears smothered the Vikings outside of one penalty-aided drive, with the most notable thing Kirk Cousins did was get in a headed argument with wide receiver Adam Thielen toward the end of the first half. Trubisky was efficient and effective, converting four third downs on a pivotal second half 16-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a Tarik Cohen touchdown and two-point conversion pass to linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski. Jordan Howard barreled through a stout Minnesota defense for 109 yards on 21 carries, the second time he’s hit that mark in the last four weeks. 

It was fair for Bears fans to hope to play the Vikings in the first round of the playoffs, given the Vikings aren’t actually all that good. But that’s also why the Vikings won’t be the Bears’ opponent — they’re just not that good of a team. The Bears looked like the team with something to play for while the Vikings lethargically went through the motions, never looking fit for a spot in the playoffs. 

Perhaps the most indicative sign of that feeling: The Vikings, after the Bears took an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter, went four-and-out against a Bears defense that pulled Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks from the game for that series. They did the same thing on their next drive. 

More importantly: The Bears move on to the playoffs having won nine of their last 10 games. They haven’t lost with Mitch Trubisky as their quarterback since mid-October. This is a defense playing at the top of its game that very well could get safety Eddie Jackson back for the playoffs. They’ve won 12 games, the most this franchise has had since reaching the Super Bowl back in 2006. 

There’s a legitimate argument to be made the Bears are the hottest team in the NFC right now. 

But if they’re not, that team is the Eagles.

Bears at Vikings inactives: Kevin White active as Allen Robinson sits out

kevin_white.jpg
USA TODAY

Bears at Vikings inactives: Kevin White active as Allen Robinson sits out

It looked as though former first-round pick Kevin White might have played his final game with the Bears after weeks of sitting on the bench as a healthy scratch.

He’ll get one more opportunity against the Minnesota Vikings thanks to Allen Robinson’s rib injury.

Robinson was listed as doubtful for the game, but he did travel with the team. He was unable to go, so both White and rookie seventh-round pick Javon Wims are active for the first time in over a month.

Tight end Daniel Brown is somewhat of a surprise inactive, and it looks like he’s taking the place of Wims on the bench.

Injured safety Eddie Jackson is also out again with his ankle injury, and Deon Bush is set to start in his place.

Rookie sixth-round pick Kyle Fitts is back for the second-straight week with Aaron Lynch out too.

For the Vikings, linebacker Eric Kendricks is sidelined as expected, but offensive linemen Tom Compton and Mike Remmers are all active for the game.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears and stream the ‘Football Aftershow’ easily on your device.

NFL picks, Week 17: Experts predict Bears end season with loss to Vikings

bears_vikes.jpg
USA TODAY

NFL picks, Week 17: Experts predict Bears end season with loss to Vikings

The Bears have every reason to be confident heading into Week 17. They’ve won eight of their last nine games, including three in a row, and they’re still playing for the chance at a first round bye if they get a little help.

Even so, the majority of NFL experts are predicting the 8-6-1 Minnesota Vikings to take the home victory over the 11-4 Bears on Sunday, according to NFL Pick Watch.

Just 26 percent of the predictions have picked Chicago, although that is the third-closest game of the week in terms of predictions.

Out of the 12 most accurate prognosticators this season, only three pick the Bears in Week 17.

The analytics models all seem to like the Vikings too, with Number Fire, Microsoft Cortana, Pro Football Focus and Five Thirty Eight all siding with Minnesota.

Even our own J.J. Stankevitz predicts Chicago to fall short.

It may not be the ending to the season Bears fans want, but they’re already guaranteed at least one more game, and that will be a welcomed change.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears and stream the ‘Football Aftershow’ easily on your device.