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Monday, December 20, 2010

MNF: Bears Perspective

Players to Watch:

QB Jay Cutler - The Vikings pass defense this 2010 season simply put has been "suspect". To my surprise, the Vikings are favorably ranked as the #10 best pass defense statistically in 2010, allowing just under 210 yards passing per game NFL.com. Moreover the defense has allowed only one 300 yard passer this entire season. Yet they still have managed to stumble to a 5-8 record with no real shot at the postseason. Now why is this? Well the Vikings and DE's, Jared Allen and Ray Edwards notably, have notched a miserable 23 sacks all season. Only 3 teams, the Bengals, Bucs, and Broncos have less sacks. Now to my point, Jay Cutler has been one of the most sacked man in the NFL (the Bears leading the NFL in sacks allowed with 47 this season alone). Something has got to give, and if the Bears want to get back on track, they will need to protect Jay Cutler.

RBs Chester Taylor and Matt Forte - Although afore mentioned protection of Jay Cutler will be necessary, due to the weather conditions, it is imperative that the Bears get the ground game up and running. One of only 9 teams averaging less than 100 yards on the ground, the Bears must keep the Vikings defense honest. In all reality, Martz should plan on at around 30 touches to Matt Forte and somewhere around 15 touches for Chester taylor.

DE Julius Peppers - Upgraded to questionable, the Ironman himself, Brett Favre, may have an opportunity to start versus "Da Bears". That being said, I can bet that Peppers is licking his chops. One of the most dominant down lineman this season, Peppers has tallied 8 sacks and ranks inside the top 20 in the NFL in sacks. If Peppers can really get after the QB and get a lot of hits on Favre/whichever QB is playing, the Bears will be in a great position to win the football game.

Key Matchup: Vikings QBs versus the Bears Pass Defense - Surprising as it may sound, I will talk about passing here. Last week Chicago had Tom Brady and the Patriots come into town in similar weather as tonight, and were absolutely torched through the air (as well as the ground). Nevertheless this week involves the Bears being the visitors to a homeless Vikings squad. Whichever QB comes out and starts tonight will need to be on top of their game versus a Bears secondary that allows just 225 ypg and has 16 interceptions on the year. UPDATE I just received a text update saying that will be Brett Favre, and Adrian Peterson is out, meaning Toby Gerhart will start. Gerhart will likely be counted upon to shoulder the load, however Brett Favre will need to be careful with the football and play mistake-free football.) 

Why the Bears Will Win - The Vikings have found ways to lose this season, and the Bears simply have found ways to win. The Bears have won 5 games by 5 or less points, and the Vikings have lost 5 games by 10 points or less this season. They Bears will be storming out of the gate after last week's utter disappointment on the national stage against the Pats. 

Prediction: Bears 31 - 27 Vikings 

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