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Previewing The Bears

The preview is coming a little early this week, as I do not plan on having too many updates until Sunday morning.

The 9-1 Vikings are preparing to host the 4-6 Bears this Sunday, in a game that will have great importance to the Vikings as a team, and also great importance to the careers of Lovie Smith and Jay Cutler.

Here is a look at the matchups:

 

VIKINGS PASS OFFENSE (No Significant Advnatage)

The Vikings have found a balanced attack on offense that has been absent for many years.  The addition of Brett Favre, combined with the emergence of young players Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin, has breathed life into a passing game that has long been quite stagnant.  The passing attack of the Vikings ranks 10th in the league, and they have momentum going in their favor as they prepare for the 8th ranked pass defense of the Chicago Bears.

The Bears have forced 10 interceptions this season, due in part to what has been a pretty consistent pass rush by Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye who have 4 and 5 sacks respectively.

Brett Favre is one of the league’s top quarterbacks this season, and has shown an unforeseen ability to take care of the football.  His three interceptions is a league low among starting quarterbacks. 

Favre has also shown the ability to stretch a defense both vertically and horizontally as he continues to hit upwards of seven receivers a game with completions. 

Besides having an ability to rush Favre, the Bears secondary is showing an ability to create turnovers.  Cornerback Zack Bowman leads the team with 4 interceptions, while cornerback Charles Tillman has 2 interceptions and has forced a whopping 6 fumbles.

So not only does Favre need to take care of the football, but the receivers need to take special care not to lose it after the catch.

Player To Watch:  Sidney Rice has been a monster these last few weeks, look for Favre to stick with what’s working by getting the ball to Rice as often as possible.

 

VIKINGS RUN OFFENSE (Advantage Vikings)

The Bears 23rd ranked rush defense is giving up 4.3 yards to opposing rushers, while the Vikings are gaining 4.2 yards per rush.  The Vikings rush offense is ranked 10th

Adrian Peterson always seems to have the Bears’ number, and with a few big names missing on the Bears defense (Urlacher) this week should be no different.  Lance Briggs is the one to worry about most, as he leads the team with 82 tackles. 

The Bears will probably stack the box against Adrian just like everybody else, but you can only contain him for so long.

Player To Watch:  Adrian Peterson is due for a super star week.  He has success against the Bears in the past, and he’ll look to turn it up a notch this week.

 

VIKINGS PASS DEFENSE (Advantage Bears)

It is true, Jay Cutler has thrown 18 interceptions so far this season, as he leads the Bears 14th ranked pass offense.  The Vikings pass defense is ranked at 21st.

The Bears biggest receiving threats come in the form of Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, Johnny Knox, Greg Olsen, and Matt Forte.  Each have at least 30 catches on the season.  It is obvious that Greg Olsen is the main red zone threat (6 touchdowns), while Hester and Knox are the big play threats as they possess incredible speed.

I have a hard time seeing the Vikings secondary holding up well against this combination of size and speed, so the key will be for them to put constant pressure on Cutler.  Getting Antoine Winfield back should prove to be a big help.

Player To Watch:  Antoine Winfield will be back in action.  Keep a close eye on him to see if he is truly back to his old self.

 

VIKINGS RUN DEFENSE (Advantage Vikings)

The Vikings 3rd ranked run defense against the Bears 28th ranked rush offense.  Need I say more?

Okay, I will, a little.  Kahlil Bell spent training camp with the Vikings, but ended up on the Bears rosters.   He had a big week last week, and he has made a few comments that could be interpreted as him wanting “revenge.”  Anybody scared?  I didn’t think so.

Matt Forte is still a threat, though he is having an awful year.  What concerns me most in this Bears rushing offense is Jay Cutler’s ability to gain first downs with his feet.  The Vikings must keep containment, and keep an eye out to make sure he doesn’t take off running.

Player To Watch:  Ray Edwards has outplayed his three Pro Bowl caliber cohorts in the last two weeks, watch for him to build on that success against a weak rushing attack.

 

VIKINGS SPECIAL TEAMS (Advantage Vikings)

On kickoff returns, the Bears are averaging 24.7 yards per return and giving up an average of 23.9 yards per kick return.  The Vikings are averaging 26.6 yards per return and giving up an average of 21.6 yards per return.  Percy Harvin has returned two kicks for touchdowns, and Johnny Knox has returned one kick for a touchdown.

Darius Reynaud is averaging 11.6 yards per punt return and Devin Hester is averaging 9.3 yards.  The Vikings are giving up 7.9 yards per punt return to opponents, and the Bears are giving up 8.3.

Ryan Longwell has only missed one field goal on the year, as opposed to Robbie Gould’s three misses.

Player To Watch:  Chris Kluwe was thought to be on his way out after he was unable to kick the ball away from Devin Hester and Reggie Bush last year.  It will be interesting to see if the Vikings still have the same amount of respect for Hester that they once did.

 

CONCLUSION

On paper this matchup looks like it could be a close one, and it just may be, but I have a feeling that the most telling stat to look at is the records of these two teams.  I think Cutler’s confidence is shaken, Forte will be swallowed up if he tried to run, and the our offense will outmatch their defense on all levels.

I could be wrong, but I think the Vikings win.

 

PREDICTION

31-23, Vikings Win


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14 Responses to “Previewing The Bears”

  1. c.carterhof says:

    Just glancing through your post Adam, I agree with most. Tho I think Vikes have slight advantage in our passing game.

    Ill read it better later, I gotta go.
    Just wanted to be 1st.
    Not a shot at you johnny. Well… maybe just a little one.

  2. Fragile Fred says:

    Freds would like to wish all his pals a happy Thanksgiving. We have plenty to be thankful for!

    Vike 36 Bear 17

    Enjoy fellas!

  3. bigjohnny84 says:

    Congrads again C.C. A special happy Thanksgiving to Freds and Starrc for having family members in the military. And goodwill wishes to Freds jr.

  4. bigjohnny84 says:

    Adam once again you don’t seem to be over confident this week. The whole crow thing has calmed you down a little. But I have learned my lesson, so I’ll go more towards Freds prediction and say Vikes 31 Bears 13.

    • littlemarkie84 says:

      No Vikings fan should be over-confident. We still have a long way to go and there is still much room for improvement.
      How do we fix our pass defense??
      Getting Winfield back will help, but I hear he is not 100% yet.

      • bigjohnny84 says:

        Hey big Markie good to see ya finally. I hear Winni is 100%. The Vikes defense is always going to give up passing yards ( Tampa 2 ). But I guess what happens in the red zone is whats important. It’s about damm time you got here.

  5. starrc10 says:

    Adam,

    Big stats ranks here:
    Scoring Offense- Vikes #2 Bears #20
    Defense points allowed-Vikes #10 Bears #18

    I disagree that this looks like a close game on paper 🙂

    Happy Thanksgiving guys!

  6. bigjohnny84 says:

    A very special happy Thanksgiving to big Markie and his family. they’re all huge Vikings fans.

  7. Viking John says:

    Hey homies, how about 28-14 Vikes. 10-1 on the way to Arizona for some prime time. Hey Freddie, easy on the Colts with the Turkey, wouldn’t want you to be sleeping by 4pm.

    Go Vikes

  8. Lost Viking says:

    The Bear D line is the best one we’ve faced since Pittsburg. Bear D-line more physical than quick. However, our O-line has been solid in pass blocking.

    Give Favre time against a suspect Bear secondary and the offense will follow. Haven’t seen much play-action the last few games. Will be interested in seeing if Bevell Bevell gives us a couple of wrinkles to restrain Bear pass rush.

    Bear short on offensive weapons.

  9. Lost Viking says:

    On the Defensive side we could expect big games from JA and Ray Edwards.

    Allen is up against Orlando Pace. Ray Edwards is facing Chris Williams. Both matchups favor Viking.

  10. bigjohnny84 says:

    Agree Lost, JA is overdue for a big game.

  11. […] that not too much has changed since I last previewed the Bears, I am going to continue my lazy weekend by getting straight to the […]

  12. […] that not too much has changed since I last previewed the Bears, I am going to continue my lazy weekend by getting straight to the […]

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