You've stumbled into (Too) Bold Predictions, a weekly column that is exactly what it sounds like! Here, we'll take nuanced, well-researched information and use it to make wildly improbable predictions. Analysis!
1. Bryce Callahan has a pick-six.
Kirk Cousins has been picked off twice throwing the way of Adam Thielen this year, which is mostly a postscript to Thielen having eight games with 100+ receiving yards. But Callahan is playing like the best slot corner in the NFL, and with the Bears in need of a big contribution from their defense, they get it with Cousins being pressured into throwing a pass Callahan picks off and takes to the house.
2. The game doesn’t come down to Cody Parkey, but he doesn’t miss a kick.
Parkey’s night practice at Soldier Field attracted multiple news helicopters, a strong signal the Bears are back at the forefront of relevancy here in Chicago. While Parkey and the Bears downplayed the significance of that work, we’ll say it pays off in helping Parkey rebound with two made field goals and three PATs on Sunday night. But the other part of this: I predicted the Bears will win by 10, which might be a bold prediction in its own. So the game won’t come down to a nail-biting Parkey kick attempt.
1. Leonard Floyd is the most impactful defensive Bears player on Sunday night.
This week, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio had some interesting quotes about Floyd's play earlier in the year. Minnesota might be without two of their offensive linemen -- Tom Compton and tackle Mike Remmers are both questionable -- and that spells good news for the Bears' front seven. With all the attention going towards Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks, Floyd will get his fare share of favorable matchups. The third-year linebacker has strung together a nice run of play over the last month or so, and another strong performance in primetime would go a long way towards dispelling the idea that he might be a bust.
2. Adam Shaheen has both of the Bears receiving touchdowns.
The Bears haven't used two tight end sets often this year, and when they have, it's been almost exclusively when running the ball. Shaheen's return gives the Bears a fun wrinkle that their offense hasn't had yet: the ability to air the ball out with two tight ends on the field. The Bears are middle of the pack when it comes to red zone success, and I imagine a lot of Shaheen/Burton sets come there tonight. The ball has a way of finding players who are just making their return, and I bet that's no different tonight.
First place in the NFC North is at stake tonight as the Bears host a Minnesota Vikings team coming off of their bye week. Chicago is looking to establish itself as a legitimate contender with a key divisional win.
Here’s how you can tune in to the game.
Minnesota Vikings (5-3-1) at Chicago Bears (6-3)
7:20 p.m. CT, Sunday, Nov. 18
Soldier Field, Chicago
Sunday Night Football on NBC
Announcers: Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth
National broadcast: XM 88
Bears feed: XM 225
Vikings feed: XM 226
Coverage on NBC Sports Chicago
“The Warm Up” — 15 minutes prior to every Bears game this season, host Laurence Holmes, along with analysts Lance Briggs, Alex Brown, Matt Forte, will hold a special Facebook Live segment on NBC Sports Chicago’s official Facebook page — offering a game day preview featuring their expert commentary and predictions.
Plus - Bears fans will have also an opportunity to have their questions answered by submitting their game day inquiries via the “comments” section on the live stream.
“3rd Quarter Sidecast” — At the start of the third quarter of every Bears game this season, fans will also be able to interact with the Football Aftershow crew via Facebook Live (Facebook.com/NBCSChicago) as they watch and react to the first few series of the second half.
In addition, the “3rd Quarter Sidecast” will also feature more fan interaction as fans can post their thoughts and ask their questions to Briggs, Brown, and Forte.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.