The Chicago Bears (11-4) do not have much to play for on Sunday when they visit the Minnesota Vikings (8-6-1) as 4.5-point road underdogs on the National Football League odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com in the regular-season finale for both teams.
After spending the majority of the last two decades trying to keep up with Green Bay, the Vikings have overtaken the Packers only to have their other primary rival the Bears surge to the top of the division.
When the Minnesota Vikings schedule was released back in April, the Week 17 matchup against the Chicago Bears appeared to be an afterthought. To nab the final spot in the NFC playoff picture, the Vikings will have to beat the Bears or have the Eagles lose to the Redskins.
Foles and the Eagles know that they can win a potential wild-card game against the Rams. Philadelphia has won two straight games since Nick Foles has taken over for the injured Carson Wentz at quarterback. Vikings safety Harrison Smith, in contrast, retreated as Howard bore down on him and made a business decision to improve his angle rather than initiate contact. Done in by three-and-outs on their first four possessions, the Vikings finished with only 164 total yards. More than once, cameras caught Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins bickering with his receivers.
Jordan Howard had an excellent day for the Bears. Mitchell Trubisky completed 18 of his 26 passes for 163 yards for Chicago. Now, the Vikings have just what they wanted sitting right in front of them.
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He tossed a 2-yard pass to Alshon Jeffery to cap a 19-play, 87-yard drive that took 11:49 in the second quarter, giving Philadelphia a 10-0 lead. His niche in Bears history remains the answer to the trivia question: Who was Ryan Pace's first draft pick as general manager? The play was called a touchdown but overturned upon review.
Speaking of miscues, Cody Parkey missed another extra point - his 10th crooked kick of the season.
Rasul Douglas intercepted Johnson on the first play from scrimmage. And not every offensive drive included crispness and not every defensive series packed a punch.
It felt like a home game for the Eagles, with green filling more than half the seats at FedEx Field. They checked the boxes for winning on the road that they needed to check. They simply got beat by a better team for the second time this season. It's been long enough that Gabriel went on Twitter to defend his lack of deep catches in the week leading up to the Vikings game, noting that opponents are "respecting the deep balls" and playing more zone to minimize such threats.
They played to win just as Nagy pledged, providing the fitting end to a regular season defined by his promise.