The 6-5 Chicago Bears take a trip to the twin cities this week to take on a 2-8-1 Minnesota Vikings squad in what should be a tough matchup between two teams that know each other very well. I already went over the historical stuff in my week two post, so I thought I would go over some more recent history. The Bears are tied for the NFC North division lead with the Detroit Lions at 6-5, though the Lions hold the decisive tie breaker because they have already beaten the Bears twice this season. After an incredibly frustrating loss to the St. Louis Rams last weekend, the Bears were unable to capitalize on the Lions losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Vikings, meanwhile, have seemingly reclaimed the bottom-feeder position in the division, due mostly to poor quarterback play and just tied the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers last week. Though the record may make it seem like the Bears will walk away with this one, I would caution against that train of thought. The Vikings are largely the same team the Bears had a close game with in week two, while the Bears have had to deal with a slew of injuries on both sides of the ball. With that out of the way, let’s get to some phase by phase analysis for the upcoming game:
Offense: I have no worries here. The Bears’ offense should continue to roll, no matter who lines up at quarterback. Minnesota simply does not have the cornerbacks to matchup with the NFL’s most productive wide receiver duo, and then you throw Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett into the mix and things don’t look good for the Vikings. Keeping Josh McCown upright is also a concern, but my confidence in Chicago’s offensive line/blocking scheme is at an all time high and they should be able to handle Jared Allen and company.
Defense: Here is where the my worries currently reside. The Bears will be lucky if Adrian Peterson doesn’t break the single game rushing record against them… again. Seriously, even with Peterson not living up to expectations this season, he could put up 300 yards against the Bears’ porous run defense. Combine that with a recent effort to get physical freak Cordarrelle Patterson more involved on offense, and this one could get ugly fast. Turnovers are where the Bears’ defensive salvation lies this season, and I expect them to have a couple more games where they look pretty good, but picking which games those will be is a difficult task.
Special Teams: Speaking of Cordarrelle Patterson, remember his 108 yard kickoff return for a touchdown in week two? That can’t happen again if the Bears want to win this one. Every point is crucial when your defense is as bad as Chicago’s and giving them 7 before the defense even takes the field is unacceptable. The Bears’ coverage unit must stay disciplined and maintain their lanes, or this one could get ugly.
All in all, I think this is a very winnable game for Chicago. That having been said, I wouldn’t be surprised if these teams combined for 70 points on Sunday and those games are always hard to predict. Such is the life of a football fan whose team has an awful defense… You guys know the drill. Let me know if I missed anything in the comments.