Coming off their dreadful loss at the hands of the Rams last Sunday, the Chicago Bears are back on the field this week, this time against their NFC North rival, the Vikings. At 6-5, the Bears need to keep pace with the 7-5 Detroit Lions, but Adrian Peterson stands in their way. Let’s preview this game!
(6-5) Chicago Bears at
(2-8-1) Minnesota Vikings
What you need to know about the Vikings franchise:
They’re in Minnesota, which is like, pretty cold. (I was there once. I can confirm it.) They play in a dome, but next year while a new stadium is being built they’ll be playing outside on a college field. So that sucks for them. They’ve been built around All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson since they drafted him back in 2007. They’ve gone through a string of bad to mediocre to washed-up quarterbacks in that time. Their coach is Leslie Frazier, who I don’t always think has a pulse.
This week it’s Christian Ponder. The Vikings had been playing musical chairs with their signal-callers in recent months, switching between Ponder, back-up Matt Cassel, and Josh Freeman, formerly of the Buccaneers. But Freeman apparently hasn’t shown the Viking coaching staff anything in practice, leading to the return of Ponder to the starting line-up. Ponder is wildly inconsistent, with his accuracy flipping on and off. He’s always a danger when he decides to run the ball though, something the Bears would be wise to account for when they’re in man coverage situations.
Offensive Player to Watch
It’s Adrian Peterson. If you asked me to name three players, I would answer AP for ALL OF THEM. Against a team with a run defense like Chicago’s (gave up over 250 yards on the ground to the Rams), the best running back in the league would seem to be the key threat. And what’s worst? his back-up, Toby Gerhart, has actually gotten a few carries lately… and hasn’t sucked. So even AP coming off the field isn’t the good news it used to be. Chicago’s going to have a helluva time shutting Peterson down up the middle, and that’s with the news that Jay Ratliff and Stephen Paea could be ready to play on Sunday. Good luck everybody.
Defensive Player to Watch
Brian Robison. On the opposite side of Jared Allen, Robison is supposed to turn into the franchise’s next elite pass-rusher once Allen departs during the offseason. Chicago has had its recent issues protecting whatever quarterback happens to be under center. Allen will certainly be a force on the field, but Robison can’t be forgotten.
This game is a pick’em. That means no one is favored. (I’ve seen a few lines with the Vikes favored by one, but not a ton.)
How can Chicago win?
By playing at least mediocre run defense and not allowing the Vikings into short third down situations.
I don’t like this game one bit. Chicago’s offense should be fine, but I don’t trust that Mel Tucker will be able to formulate any decent plan to stop Peterson. This could be a long afternoon. I’m picking the Vikings to get the home win.
How many heart attacks will Joe suffer?
I’m braced for this game. I’ve been lucky that I haven’t been caught too unaware by some of Chicago’s losses this season. Knowing how bad our defense truly is has tempered my expectations. I’m gonna distract myself with laundry. That’ll do the trick.
And now… I rest. Until Sunday that is, when I’ll be tweeting during the game and the rest of the day’s NFL action. Bear Down and Happy Jay Cutler Day!