Bears vs. Vikings: TV Schedule, Live Stream, Spread Info, Game Time and More

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Bears vs. Vikings: TV Schedule, Live Stream, Spread Info, Game Time and More
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Two fierce NFC North rivals square off up north this weekend as the co-division leading Chicago Bears travel to Minnesota to face the Vikings in a Week 14 showdown.

Minnesota started out its 2012 campaign in a big way, but has since lost four of their last five games and sit at an even 6-6 as the season reaches the home stretch.

A winning streak is needed to give them any hope for the postseason.

As for the Bears, they boast an 8-4 record and are slipping away from contention for home field advantage in the NFC. But there's still little doubt that they're headed toward the postseason and they'll need a win Sunday to keep their fans and themselves believing that. 

Let's take a look at everything you need to know heading into this one.

 

Where: Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minn.

When: Sunday, December 9, 1 p.m. ET

Watch: FOX

Live Stream: NFL.com

 

Injury Report (via CBS Sports, as of Dec. 4)

Bears: Earl Bennett (unknown, concussion), Lance Briggs (probable, ankle), Chris Conte (unknown, illness), Kellen Davis (probable, ankle), Matt Forte (probable, ankle), Devin Hester (out, concussion), Alshon Jeffrey (doubtful, knee), Tim Jennings (unknown, shoulder), Stephen Paea (probable, shoulder), Charles Tillman (probable, ankle), Brian Urlacher (unknown, hamstring), Edwin Williams (probable, shoulder)

 Vikings: Jared Allen (probable, shoulder/back), Jasper Brinkley (probable, shoulder), Letroy Guion (probable, foot), Percy Harvin (doubtful, ankle), Chris Kluwe (probable, left knee), Phil Loadholt (probable, knee), Adrian Peterson (probable, shoulder), Kyle Rudolph (probable, concussion), Harrison Smith (probable, concussion), Antoine Winfield (probable, knee)

 

What's At Stake?

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

This game could end up having major implications on who wins the NFC North. 

The Bears lost a thrilling overtime game last weekend to Seattle, which heavily altered their chances of notching the NFC's top playoff seed. But at 8-4, they still have a great chance to pick up that first-round bye that everyone loves. 

If the Vikings have anything to say of it, though, the Bears have their hands full just holding onto their division.

Minnesota is still geared up for a late-season surge and if they got hot enough, the playoffs aren't out of question.

 

Fantasy Plays

Bears RB Matt Forte

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Some fantasy owners may not be feeling very 'Forte'-unate after drafting Matt Forte this season, as he hasn't delivered compared to his standard in past seasons.

But fear not, a susceptible defense will be lining up across from him and the young rusher will have no trouble finding the seams. 

The Vikings boast an average defense and you never know if Jay Cutler will be able to make throws on any given Sunday, so checking down to Forte could end up being a dangerous play and help to pick up some fantasy points for the running back.

He'll also add plenty of rushing yards to his season total of 749 yards and get closer to hitting the 1K milestone, despite missing time yet again this season with injury problems.

Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph

Andy King/Getty Images

Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph is more than just a Christmas-y name. The two-year pro from Notre Dame is becoming a very consistent and reliable force in the Vikings passing game. 

Save for Percy Harvin, quarterback Christian Ponder doesn't have a strong receiving core and likes what he sees from Rudolph in the past few games. The tight end has racked up 170 receiving yards in the team's past three games, including a touchdown in each of those three games. 

If you're looking for a tight end to pick up, check and see if Rudolph is still available. You may very well get a solid 10-12 points per game on a consistent basis out of him. 

 

What They Are Saying

While Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier has been a big supporter of second-year starting quarterback Christian Ponder, he hinted that Ponder's position isn't guaranteed heading into this week's matchup, according to Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN (Twin Cities).

Actually, he did much more than hint:

"If things get to a point where your number one (quarterback) is really costing you some situations that could preclude winning you do have to do what's best for the football team. That's always the case, it's always about what's best for the team.

Up to this point, I felt it's been best for our team that Christian remains our number one quarterback. I still feel that way. But every position you need those guys to continue to progress and continue to improve. He knows that as well as every position on our team."

Though I'm sure many fans and media will commend Frazier for speaking up, that's not exactly the best position you want your valuable rookie quarterback to be in. 

 

Key Matchup: Adrian Peterson vs. Bears Defense

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Vikings have been able to rely on Adrian Peterson all year to keep them in tight games and he's delivered with a superb performance nearly every time he's called on. Doing so will be a lot tougher than usual against a stout Bears defense.

Chicago is historically solid at stuffing the run and this year is no different as they're in the top 10 in rush yards allowed per game. 

Though, AP is hot after scorching Green Bay for 210 rushing yards on 21 carries, including an 82-yard touchdown scamper. He bumped off a couple of tackles while tip-toeing the sideline and took off past several defenders as his breakaway speed took over. 

Look for the Bears to focus on keeping Peterson contained throughout this one.

He may still pick up a solid three to four yards per carry, but keeping him from busting first down runs and getting into the end zone will help translate to a Chicago victory.

 

Prediction

The Bears seem to have hit their stride at this point of the season and have been able to take care of most of the middle-of-the-road teams on their schedule so far this year. Unfortunately for the Vikings, they fall under that label. 

Look for Cutler to manage the game well and put the ball into good spots. This offense has looked bad in every sense of the word in some games, but they seem to be on the mend and are peaking at the right time for a likely playoff run. 

Peterson will get his 70 to 80 yards on the ground, but the Bears' ability to stop big plays and keep everything in front of them will make scoring touchdowns hard to come by.

Bears 23, Vikings 19

 

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