Bears vs Vikings: Inside the Matchups

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Sep 15, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen (69) sacks Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) and forces a fumble during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

When the Bears Have the Ball

It’s been a rough stretch for the Bears offense the last few weeks,  The offense has been in a steady decline in the rankings, struggling to score or even consistently move the ball.  Each week, we hear about bringing balance to the offense, yet they quickly devolve into mostly passing the ball with check downs.

Bears Passing Offense (12th, 251.7 YPG) vs Vikings Passing Defense (4th, 213.6 YPG)

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If you go purely by yardage, the Bears have been able to move the ball decently through the air, ranking 12th in the league.  Most of those chunks are picked up by Matt Forte on dump offs or short passes to Martellus Bennett or Brandon Marshall.  The bombs to Alshon Jeffery that led to a breakout season in 2013 are all but gone.  The biggest problem with the Bears passing attack has been the man at the helm, Jay Cutler.  He’s been careless with the ball, leading the league in turnovers.

For the Vikings, Mike Zimmer’s defense is starting to roll.  Rookie linebacker Anthony Barr is among the stellar rookie class across the league.  Everson Griffen is among the league leaders is sacks wit 9.  Safety Harrison Smith, who leads the Vikings with 3 interceptions, will make things difficult for Cutler and the Bears passing attack.

Advantage: Vikings

Bears Rushing Offense (24th, 97.2 YPG), vs Vikings Rushing Defense (16th, 112.8 YPG)

We keep hearing about the Bears trying to bring some balance to the rushing attack, but they’re veiled threats.  The last couple of games, the Bears were down so fast that there wasn’t much chance to seriously get the running game going.  The Vikings rush defense isn’t what it used to be when they used to have “the Williams Wall” in the middle of their defensive line.  Although the Bears rank only 24th in the running game, I think it’s more from a lack of attempts than from an actual inability to move the ball on the ground.

Advantage: Bears