Players to Watch:
RB Matt Forte- The field is likely to be in terrible condition, and there are reports that there could be as much as 6 inches of snow on the ground by kickoff. Throwing the ball through the air is going to be a tough task, so look for the Bears to lean on Forte. He is a threat both on the ground and as a receiver, and rushes and screens are a good game plan to combat the elements tonight.
TE Greg Olsen- He’s been a major disappointment this year, and only has one catch in each of his last 3 games. Olsen was predicted to be a major part of Mike Martz’s offense, but Cutler has found Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett to be more reliable targets. Olsen will have to step up in this game if the Bears want to be successful in the passing game. Footing will be tough, but if Olsen can find open spots in the flats and middle of the field, he could have a big game.
LB Brian Urlacher- The undisputed leader of the team has put in another fine season, and has shown no ill effects from missing almost the entire season last year with a dislocated wrist. He’s played in harsh conditions before, and the Bears will need him to rise to the occasion. Tackling in the cold isn’t the easiest job in the world, but if anyone excels at doing so, it’s Urlacher.
Key Matchup: Jay Cutler vs. Vikings Secondary– After a rough first 2 seasons in Chicago, Cutler has finally shown why the Bears gave up 2 first round picks to get him. Cutler has cut down on the unadvised long passes and made smarter decisions. He will need to do the same in this game if the Bears want to win. His last game in the snow against the Patriots left a lot to be desired, and will need to limit his mistakes tonight. The Vikings secondary will be hungry for picks, something Cutler must be aware of.
Why the Bears Will Win-The Vikings will either be starting an injured Brett Favre or an inexperience Joe Webb. Neither QB is well-suited to be playing in this game, as conditions will be brutal. The Bears have a very good defense, and will be able to key in on stopping the run, and try to make the Vikings beat with their passing game. The Vikings season is over and their best weapon Adrian Peterson is out. The Bears on the other hand can NFC North crown with a win tonight, so they will be going all out tonight. Weather is the great-equalizer, but I expect a battle-tested Bears to win out in the end.
Prediction: Bears 17, Vikings 13