The 3-8 Chicago Bears are once again playing on the national stage, where they will visit the 6-5 division rival Minnesota Vikings on Monday night. A playoff team a year ago, the Vikings already look different from when these two teams first faced off in week six, with the most notable change coming at the quarterback position. Led by Josh Dobbs, who was acquired from the Arizona Cardinals at the deadline, the Vikings are looking to topple the Bears to keep their playoff hopes alive.
For the Bears, Sunday's matchup provides yet another opportunity for this regime to earn their first divisional win (currently 0-9 versus NFC North opponents under Matt Eberflus). After coming close last weekend against the Detroit Lions, the Chicago Bears proved that they can stay close to the best of teams across the league, but to upset the Vikings, it will be essential for the navy and orange to accomplish these three keys to success:
The Chicago Bears need to be more aggressive in the second half
Last Sunday's late-game meltdown versus the Detroit Lions was not the first instance of the Chicago Bears taking their foot off the gas pedal, but it may have been just a small piece of the puzzle that is this team's second-half game plan. In the six games that Fields started and finished, the Bears have played relatively well in the first half, with only one contest where they entered halftime down by more than four points (trailed 34-0 against the Kansas City Chiefs).
Coincidentally, the Bears' trip to Arrowhead also proved to be the only game where the team outscored their opponent in the second half with Fields at the helm (the Bears outscored the Chiefs 10-0 with the latter team playing several backups). Even in their Thursday night victory against the Washington Commanders, where Fields and D.J. Moore helped the team accumulate 40 points, the team lost the second half to the tune of 17-13, with all of those points coming later in the fourth quarter.
For whatever reason, it appears that the Bears tend to struggle coming back out of the tunnel, but against a dynamic Vikings team, it is essential to play a complete game from start to finish. Over the past three weeks, the Vikings have scored more than ten points just once, so there should be opportunities for the Bears offense to put the game away in late-game situations.