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Bears vs. Vikings: What to Watch 4

The Bears are still motivated to finish strong for Matt Nagy. “I want to help coach Nagy not have a [losing] season,” CB Prince Amukamara said. “We love Nagy and I would want that for him.” 

Dallas Cowboys v Chicago Bears
Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson (12, celebrating a touchdown against the Cowboys on Dec. 5 at Soldier Field) can put a bow on a banner season with a big finish against the Vikings on Sunday. Robinson needs 11 receptions for 100 this season and 124 yards for 1,200 for the season.
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

KEY MATCHUP

None. This is a meaningless game that will have no impact on this season or next. The Bears (7-8) are playing out the string and the Vikings (10-5) are locked into the No. 6 seed in the NFC and will probably half-heartedly play their starters before quickly going into coast mode. Years from now, they won’t even play games like this for fear of critical injuries in the pursuit of nothing — that’s the direction football is trending, anyway.

In 2000, the Bears ended a 5-11 season under coach Dick Jauron with a thrilling 23-20 victory over the Lions at the Silverdome on Paul Edinger’s 54-yard field goal with 0:02 left that ended up being a harbinger of a magnificent 13-3 playoff season in 2001. But that season finale was against a Lions team desperate to make the playoffs. This is not that.

So if Charles Leno and Cornelius Lucas do a bang-up job against Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen it will be duly noted, but more likely a false-positive than some kind of beacon signaling a better 2020. Not that the Bears can’t regain their 2018 playoff mojo next season, but it won’t be because of anything that happens in this one.

Enjoy the game!

TRENDING

The Bears’ defense, while maintaining a top-10 standing in total yards, rushing and passing, has plummeted in takeaways this season — from an NFL-best 36 in 2018 to 16 in 2019 (tied for 25th).

Last year the Bears had a league-leading 27 interceptions. This year they have eight, tying a franchise low set in 2015 and tied in 2016 and 2017. The Bears, in fact, have not had a takeaway in three consecutive games — that’s happened just once since 1996.

PLAYER TO WATCH

With 89 receptions for 1,076 yards and seven touchdowns, wide receiver Allen Robinson is the lone offensive weapon having a quantifiable good season. He’s the first 1,000-yard receiver since Alshon Jeffery in 2014 (1,133) and with 11 catches he would be the first receiver with 100 receptions since Brandon Marshall in 2013 (100-1,295, 12 touchdowns).

Robinson’s single-game high this season is 10 receptions (for 87 yards) against the Saints. But he’s been Mitchell Trubisky’s go-to guy since Day 1 of training camp, and has been targeted 56 times in the last five games.

X-FACTOR

Bears coach Matt Nagy has been credited with keeping his team on-point throughout a disappointing season, but the Bears’ dreadful performance in a 26-3 loss to the Chiefs — their last home game against Nagy’s old team and mentor, Andy Reid — showed that Nagy’s positive influence has a limit.

The Bears are determined in their hearts to finish this season on a positive note and avoid a losing season.

“I want to help coach Nagy not have a season where he was under .500,” cornerback Prince Amukamara said. “We love Nagy and I would want that for him.”