The Chicago Bears’ defense showed why it’s an elite unit in the team’s most important game in years on Sunday Night Football against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field. The Bears came away with a 25-20 victory, a score that doesn’t show just how good the defense was.

Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks were their usual ridiculous selves to wreak havoc on the Minnesota offensive line, running game (14 carries for 22 yards; 1.6 YPC), and Kirk Cousins.

And second-year safety Eddie Jackson continued to be one of the best playmaking defensive backs in football. The Alabama product picked off Kirk Cousins and took it to the house to put the Bears up two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Mitch Trubisky has made great strides in his sophomore campaign, but the quarterback wasn’t as sharp on Sunday with two interceptions and some forced throws against a very good Vikings defense. However, the game shows that the Bears can still find ways to win even if Trubisky is off, thanks to arguably football’s best defense and tremendous playcalling and scheming from first-year head coach Matt Nagy.

And more important than being a statement game for Chicago against a very good team on national television: the Bears (7-3) now essentially have a two-game lead over Minnesota (5-4-1) in the NFC North. That’s with the Bears still having games remaining against the 3-7 New York Giants and 2-8 San Francisco 49ers (though both of those games are on the road).

Understandably, the computers really like both the Bears’ playoff and division title chances. Five Thirty Eight now projects the Bears for 10 wins, while giving Chicago an 87% chance to make the playoffs and a 71% chance to win the NFC North. The Vikings’ playoff chances drop to 52% with the loss, while their division crown chances drop to 21% (the Green Bay Packers are at a 5% chance to win the division, while the Detroit Lions are 3%).

Now, the Bears are in a tough situation thanks to the NFL schedule makers and the recent decision to flex this Vikings game to Sunday night. The Bears turn around to play the Lions in the early Thanksgiving game on Thursday in Detroit, so they have very little time to rest (and obviously have very little time to practice). And this comes after the Bears and Lions just played last week in Chicago, with the Bears winning 34-22.

Bears vs. Lions Thanksgiving Turkey Day Free Play Odds

Detroit Lions Betting

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at mclapp@thecomeback.com.