Due to COVID-19 protocols, there are two games on Monday. The Las Vegas Raiders travel east to take on the Cleveland Browns and there is an NFC North matchup as the Minnesota Vikings take on the Chicago Bears.
Planet Sport previews the double-header with the Browns and Vikings hoping to win and build momentum for a late playoff push.
Las Vegas Raiders @ Cleveland Browns
The Las Vegas Raiders (6-7) travel to Ohio to take on the Cleveland Browns (7-6). The game was pushed back due to an outbreak of COVID-19 that would have left the Browns playing only backups in a crucial game.
The Raiders have struggled in recent weeks, losing five of their last six games and were probably hoping the game was postponed to reset their season. Their quarterback, Derek Carr, started the season in fantastic form and was an early contender for the league MVP.
However, since their bye week, Carr and the offense has struggled, scoring fewer than 17 points in the five games they lost.
History has also not been kind to Carr, he is the first QB since at least 1950 to lose 70+ games in their first eight career seasons. The lone solace for Las Vegas has been wide receiver, Hunter Renfroe. He has 30 catches in the past three games which is the most receptions in a three-game span in franchise history.
Just like the Raiders, the Browns haven't been a winning machine in recent weeks. Over their last eight games, they have alternated wins and losses and come into Monday's clash following a 24-22 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
Despite their recent form, the Browns still have a real chance of making the playoff either by winning their division or as one of the three wild-card teams. If they win on Monday, then they could tie up the top of the AFC North with the Ravens.
The Browns have had one of the league's best running offenses this season, mostly thanks to the efforts of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. In Chubb's only game against the Raiders in 2018, he had three carries for 105-yards and two rushing touchdowns.
It was the only instance where a player has registered 100+ yards and 2+ rushing touchdowns with just three carries or fewer since 1950.
Despite Cleveland tending to follow up a win with a loss, we've got them down to break the trend and record their eighth win of the season. Even with a COVID-19 outbreak, the Browns are the better team and should have enough to get the win over the line.
Best bets: Las Vegas Raiders @ Cleveland Browns
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears
The Minnesota Vikings (6-7) travel to the 'Windy City' as they take on the Chicago Bears on Monday night.
The Bears have had the upper hand in recent meetings against the Vikings - they have won five of the last six games against their divisional rival. However, they have lost seven of their last eight games.
The Bears have struggled all season long and have had difficulties with regards to starting quarterbacks. They have chopped and changed between veteran Andy Dalton and rookie Justin Fields for the starting role.
Under head coach Matt Nagy, Chicago has struggled this season and if they don't beat Minnesota they'll have their first losing record in four seasons.
Last time out, Chicago was blown out 45-30 by the Green Bay Packers. The two sides combined for 45 points in the second quarter before the experience of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers paid dividends as he led his side to victory.
While the Bears have struggled to win this season, the Vikings have played in a lot of close games this season. In fact, 12 of their 13 games this season have been decided by just one possession and they have not lost a game by multiple scores this season.
The Vikings come into the game as one of five teams tied for the final NFC wild-card spot, but are currently behind Washington due to a tiebreaker (best win percentage in conference games). They have struggled on the road this season and are 2-5 when playing out of Minneapolis.
In their last match, Minnesota beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football, 36-28. They almost blew a 29-point lead but held on for their sixth win of the season.
When it comes to a divisional matchup, form and stats tend to go out the window. The Bears' recent record suggests that the Vikings will win but not by much.