Is Another Win In The Cards Against The Bears?
After a relatively easy win last week at home against Arizona for their first win of the 2011 season, the Vikings head to the Windy City to take on the rival Bears for a Sunday night game on ESPN. The Vikings haven't had a lot of success there lately, having lost 9 of the last 10 in Chicago (the lone win coming on Oct. 14th, 2007, in a 34-31 Minnesota win). This is the only time the Vikings will be on national TV this season, so I imagine they'll want to make a good showing.
Heading into Chicago, the Vikings have been playing extremely well on defense and on special teams. The defensive line has been penetrating opposing backfields with regularity. Last week Jared Allen and Brian Robison caused all sorts of havoc, and the defensive backfield did a very good job of holding Arizona's receivers in check, despite the fact that Antoine Winfield didn't play. They have been improving from week to week, and I look for another solid to spectacular week from them against Da Bears.
As it is right now, the Bears have no offense to speak of. At receiver they have Roy Williams, who's old, Johnny Know, Devin Hester and Earl Bennett, not exactly a lineup of pro-bowlers. Hester is more suited for KR and PR, and Bennett has exactly 3 receptions for 20 yds this season. They also have Dane Sanzenbacher (?) and Sam Hurd (?). Matt Forte is their only real weapon offensively. QB Jay Cutler has been running for his life all season, and last week against the Packers, it was lucky he wasn't killed. The Bears' offensive line is a mess - getting rid of their former center Olin Kreutz has forced them to juggle the line all season.
The Bears' defense can still be formidable, but they are getting old fast. LB Lance Briggs is 30, MLB Brian Urlacher is 33, cornerback Charles Tillman is 30, RDE Julius Peppers is 31, LDE Israel Idonije is 31. So, basically, one half of their defensive starters are 30 or over.
So what does all that say about this week's matchup of the 1-4 Vikings against the 2-3 Bears? The Vikings offense isn't much better than the Bears', I think they've proven that. However, I think the Vikings will have an easier time vs. the Bears' defense than Chicago against Minnesota's defense. Adrian Peterson will have his work cut out for him, as the Bears are going to make QB Donovan McNabb win the game with his play. The Vikings' defensive line will be all over Bears' QB Cutler, getting in his face and hassling him into throwing before he wants to. Matt Forte could have a strong game for the Bears, but the Minnesota defense will contain him.
Prediction: The Vikings gain another game in the division.
Vikings 27, Bears 13