The Chicago Bears head into Week 18 with a 3-13 record and while they won’t be playing further into January, they have a big opportunity in Week 18. The Bears currently hold the No. 2 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft order, and can potentially move into the No. 1 spot with a loss and some help.
The Bears host the Vikings on Sunday and are a 6.5-point underdog at DraftKings Sportsbook. Chicago has deactivated Justin Fields and will start Nathan Peterman. They’re also sending out a secondary featuring three players with zero career NFL snaps. If they’re not tanking, they’re doing a great job imitating a team trying to tank.
If you are a Bears fan, there is one other game to pay significant attention to in Week 18 if Chicago loses. There are two games of note if the Bears somehow beat the Vikings.
Texans vs. Colts
Houston has the No. 1 pick in the draft, but only has a half game lead due to their tie. If they win and the Bears lose, Chicago claims the No. 1 pick. If the Texans or Bears lose, Houston claims the No. 1 pick. The Texans are only a three-point road underdog at DraftKings Sportsbook, suggesting just how bad the Colts are. Indianapolis is starting Sam Ehlinger, so this is a very winnable game for Houston.
Broncos vs. Chargers
Cardinals vs. 49ers
The Broncos and Cardinals are both 4-12 and have a significantly weaker strength of schedule than the Bears. SOS is the sole tiebreaker before a coin toss, so if the Bears and either or both of these teams lost, Chicago would slip behind them in the draft order.
The Broncos are a 4.5-point favorite against a Chargers team that might rest some starters once they’re locked into position. The Ravens could beat the Bengals earlier in the day to force LA to have something to play for, but Baltimore is resting several starters. The Cardinals are 14.5-point underdogs and the 49ers have something to play for with the No. 1 seed still up for grabs.