Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.
Are there any records the Bears have a chance of setting in Sunday's last game of the season?
The first one that comes to mind is the single season team rushing record of 2,974 yards set in 1986. The Bears enter Week 18 leading the NFL with 2,896 yards, meaning they need 79 yards to eclipse the franchise record. I know there's an extra game with the NFL having expanded to 17 games last year, but it's still significant given the Bears' storied history of Hall of Fame running backs led by Walter Payton and Gale Sayers. The Bears are virtually assured of leading the NFL in rushing this season; they enter the last weekend of play with 286 more yards on the ground than the second-ranked Ravens (2,610). It would be the first time the Bears topped the NFL in rushing since they did so for four straight seasons from 1983-86.
Do the Vikings have anything at stake in terms of the playoffs Sunday or are they locked into a certain spot? And how do you think that will affect how long they play their starters?
The Vikings can move up from the No. 3 seed to the No. 2 seed with a win over the Bears coupled with a 49ers loss to the Cardinals in San Francisco. The 49ers-Cardinals game will be played in the late afternoon window Sunday, so I presume that the Vikings will play their starters against the Bears. Getting that second seed may not seem like a huge deal, but for Minnesota it could mean the difference between playing the 49ers at home or on the road in the divisional round of the playoffs. In terms of Sunday, the likelihood of Arizona upsetting San Francisco doesn't seem high, but after seeing the Jaguars knock the Colts out of the playoffs on the final day of last season, it's evident that anything is possible.
It seems like the Bears always end the season in Minnesota. When was the last time they played their final game against the Vikings in Chicago?
Sunday marks the first time the Bears will host the Vikings in the final game of a season since 1971 when they lost to Minnesota 27-10 in their first year at Soldier Field. The Bears have closed the season in Minnesota nine times since then, but it's only been a recent phenomenon with those games taking place in 1988, 2005, 2011, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021.