Pedal-down Bears keep Vikings out of playoffs with 24-10 win

Bears: Host the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles in the NFC wild-card round of the playoffs, next Saturday or Sunday.

The NFL arranged the schedule to minimize the anticlimactic outcomes, moving the Bears-Vikings game to the late-afternoon slot so it would be played simultaneously with Eagles-Redskins, Cardinals-Seahawks and 49ers-Rams.

Chicago, the NFC North division champion, can not finish any worse than third but must defeat the Vikings and hope for San Francisco to defeat the Rams in Los Angeles to jump into the No. 2 seed and earn a first-round bye. The Vikings have blocked better in the past two games, and the improvement down the stretch by rookie right tackle Brian O'Neill has been particularly visible.

Minnesota (8-6-1) must defeat or tie Chicago (11-4), or have Philadelphia lose to or tie Washington in order to claim the No. 6 seed and likely earn a trip to the Windy City to face the Bears either January 5 or 6. Philadelphia embarrassed the Bears previous year, a game that most of the holdovers from the Fox era are sure to remember. He took a sack by Anthony Barr that would've forced a punt from the Minnesota 45, but a holding penalty on Vikings safety Jayron Kearse gave Chicago a fresh set of downs. They lost to Chicago, 25-20, there on November 18. The Bears could still improve their seed and snag that coveted first-round bye, if they win and the Los Angeles Rams also lose at home to San Francisco. That means Philadelphia can only find their way into the No.3 vs. No.6 seed matchup.

"It is going to be a heightened sense of urgency".

Bears head coach Matt Nagy said the Bears will let it rip in Minnesota, but with one caveat.

Chicago enters Week 17 as the NFC's No.3 seed. In that game, they ran just 14 times for 22 yards, part of the reason Zimmer fired John DeFilippo three weeks later.

"Maybe I've done that, we'll have to see", he said.

In two games with former quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefansky running the offense, the Vikings have rushed for a combined 320 yards.

Cousins knows too well what it feels like to throw two interceptions in a crushing defeat.



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