1/9/22: Bears vs. Vikings: The not-so-grand finale

Picks, props and three things to know

Matt Nagy Chicago Bears
(USA Today Sports)

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Good morning, friends!

The 17th game. We finally made it.

Somehow, so did Matt Nagy.

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Bears (6-10) at Vikings (7-9)
⏰ : Noon
📺 : Fox
🎙️ : Gus Johnson, Aqib Talib, Megan Olivi
💰 : Bears +5.5, O/U 44

Last week: The Bears beat the Giants 29-3 at Soldier Field; the Vikings were throttled by the Packers 37-10 at Lambeau Field.

All-time record: Vikings lead 62-57-2

Last meeting: The Vikings beat the Bears 17-9 on Monday Night Football on December 20.

Three things to know

(USA Today Sports)

By Brendan Sugrue

Is it okay to be sad the regular season is coming to an end, but be happy the Bears are finally done after the year we've experienced?

If this finale feels familiar, it should: The Bears and Vikings are playing to end the regular season for the fifth time in six seasons. But this year, there are absolutely no stakes. No playoff positioning, no phenom rookie quarterback to watch, not even a fight for a first-round pick. Just two teams who appear ready to move on from their head coaches.

There's really not that much to know heading into this matchup, but I'll try and get you set for this week's game.

1. Even with a win, the Bears cannot break a tie with the Vikings

The Bears will finish with a 7-10 record if they win, the same as the Vikings, essentially putting them in a tie for second place in the NFC North. But the Vikings hold the tiebreaker over the Bears and will still hold second place in the division.

That's good news for the Giants, who hold the Bears' first-round pick and won't fall behind the Vikings. But it's also good news for the Bears, who will theoretically face an easier schedule by placing third. That will allow them to face the Texans, Falcons, and 49ers next season instead of the Colts,  Saints and Cardinals. Time will tell if that turns out to be a real advantage, though.

2. Matt Nagy is going out with style

We've been hearing rumors, reading reports, and just looking with our own eyes at the Bears coaching situation for weeks now. Unless something shocking happens, this is Matt Nagy's last game with the Bears.  

And he's going out with style, apparently.

Nagy won't say exactly who will be calling plays, but added they're "going to have some fun" with it. So you might want to get ready for wildcat formations, trick passes, offensive linemen touchdowns, and everything in between. Nagy knows he has nothing left to lose so why not empty the old Denny's menu? At least it should give fans something interesting to watch.

3. A few Bears are seeking significant milestones

Don't tell the players this game doesn't mean anything. A few Bears players are looking to hit some significant milestones. Like Robert Quinn, the new franchise single-season sack leader. With one more sack, Quinn can become the first player in NFL history with 19 sacks for two different teams. Two more sacks and he becomes just the 14th player in NFL history with 20 or more sacks in a season.

On the offensive side of the ball, Darnell Mooney needs just 71 receiving yards to eclipse 1,000 on the season. It would be the first 1,000-yard season of his young career. Both players will look to go out with a bang in the season finale.

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Predictions


Kevin Kaduk — Midway Minute (11-5)
Vikings 17, Bears 16
"One last disappointment for the road, Matt Nagy."

Scott Koral — Midway Minute (14-2)
Vikings 23, Bears 14
"Both head coaches meet at midfield after the game, and only Matt Nagy has to find his own way home."

Brendan Sugrue — Midway Minute (14-2)
Bears 23, Vikings 20
"In a game of who actually cares to fight for their soon-to-be-ex-coach, the Bears come out on top. At least Matt Nagy can go out with a win before he's let go."

David Brown — Midway Minute (10-6)
Bears 24, Vikings 20
"May the next regime give Justin Fields all the tools he needs to succeed."

Maggie Hendricks — Bally Sports (13-3)
Vikings 27, Bears 14
"If the Bears can’t throw a quad Lutz, what’s the point? Wait, this isn’t about skating, which I'm covering this weekend. Apologies. Andy Dalton as QB and the Vikings are better than the Giants. The season will end on a fart."

Alyssa Barbieri — BearsWire (14-2)
Bears 23, Vikings 20

"While the Vikings look rather uninspired, the Bears have continued to fight for Nagy over these last two weeks. That’s the reason why I’m giving Chicago a slight edge."

Usayd Koshul — Fireside Bears (11-5)
Bears 21, Vikings 14
"The Bears play hard for Matt Nagy in his final game as head coach."

Greg Braggs Jr. — Braggs in the Stands (13-3)
Vikings 24, Bears 14
"This is the end. My only friend, the end. C'est la vie, Matt Nagy."


Three interesting prop bets


Dalvin Cook UNDER 85.5 rushing yards (-131)
The Vikings don't have a lot of reason to give Cook a ton of carries in a meaningless game. He's coming off a nine-carry, 13-yard performance in Green Bay after missing a week on the COVID list.  

David Montgomery UNDER 65.5 yards (-105)
Monty hasn't gone over this total in the last four games. With Nagy throwing the ball and Khalil Herbert getting some looks, he'll come under again.

Darnell Mooney OVER 75+ yards (+230)
As Brendan mentioned above, Mooney needs 71 yards to hit 1,000 for the season. I think Dalton and the game plan will take care of him.


Beer recommendation

Coffee Bear by Hop Butcher

Maybe one year we'll be able to end the year with a champagne recommendation for the final game of the season instead of a beer.  This is not that year. So let's end the season with a beer that has a bear on its label. Cheers.


The worst celebrity Vikings fan

Josh Duhamel


I actually don't have anything against this guy, except for the fact my wife makes fun of me every time I mispronounce his last name. Anyone up for a Las Vegas reunion? (Besides Jim Harbaugh, that is?)


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