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National Football League
Preview
Chicago at Minnesota
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 28, 2014
Where: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Jay Cutler’s benching is over after just one game as the Chicago Bears try to close out a lost season with a victory. The Minnesota Vikings, who host the Bears on Sunday, are coming to the end of their season as well but have reason for optimism thanks to a young, exciting roster. Cutler lost his job before Week 16 but a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit on Jimmy Clausen resulted in a concussion, pushing Cutler back into the spotlight.

"Jay gives us the best chance this week, so that's why he'll be out there," coach Marc Trestman said. "Jay said, 'I'll be ready to go.' He empathizes with what Jimmy had gone through (last week). He's ready to go.” Cutler was under center for Chicago’s lone division victory Nov. 16, when he threw for 330 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in a 21-13 home win over the Vikings. Minnesota is coming off back-to-back two-point road losses and is trying to avoid a last-place finish.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Vikings -6.5. O/U: 44

ABOUT THE BEARS (5-10): Chicago has dropped four in a row and Cutler was demoted after throwing six interceptions in the first three of those setbacks. The decision to sit Cutler in the first place did not sit well with some veterans, and even kicker Robbie Gould questioned the coaching staff. "To be honest with you, I feel really bad for Jay," Gould told WSCR-AM 670 radio on Monday. "When you're having a tough season like this, he's not the guy to be the scapegoat or the guy to blame. There are a lot of guys you could put that blame on. You could bench the whole team. It's not like anybody's really played fantastic or great. We're 5-10 now.”

ABOUT THE VIKINGS (6-9):
Minnesota is starting to get more consistency out of its quarterback position as rookie Teddy Bridgewater continues to improve. Bridgewater has completed over 70 percent of his passes in four straight games and has thrown multiple touchdowns in three of those starts, but the defense is starting to spring leaks. “Defensively we were very, very poor,” coach Mike Zimmer told reporters after the 37-35 loss at Miami. “I’m trying to figure out how we can go from playing so good one week to playing so poorly the next week. That’s kind of disappointing to me.”

EXTRA POINTS

1. Bridgewater was limited to a season-low two yards on four carries in the first meeting with the Bears.

2. Chicago placed DE Willie Young (torn left Achilles) on injured reserve.

3. Minnesota waived RB Ben Tate after he played three games with the team.

PREDICTION: Vikings 27, Bears 17
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
Chicago 5-10 L4 20.7 28.6 2-6 3-4 3-8 2-2 0-1 1-4 4-7
Minnesota 6-9 L2 20.8 22.3 4-3 2-6 1-3 5-6 2-0 0-5 5-6
Last Meeting
Chicago Minnesota
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
11/16/14 MIN 13 CHI 21 468 138 330 243 96 147
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Chicago J. Cutler 72.1 330 3 2
Minnesota T. Bridgewater 64.3 158 1 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Chicago M. Forte 26 117 4.5 0
Minnesota A. Sendejo 1 48 48.0 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Chicago A. Jeffery 11 135 12.3 1
Minnesota C. Johnson 6 87 14.5 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Chicago B. Marshall 2
Minnesota R. Ellison 1
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Chicago J. Cutler 66.1 3640 28 18
Minnesota T. Bridgewater 64.2 2710 13 11
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Chicago M. Forte 249 987 4.0 6
Minnesota J. McKinnon 113 538 4.8 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Chicago A. Jeffery 83 1099 13.2 10
Minnesota G. Jennings 56 697 12.4 6
Touchdowns Player TD
Chicago M. Forte 10
Minnesota M. Asiata 10