When the Chicago Bears (8-4) and Minnesota Vikings (6-6) meet in the Metrodome on Sunday afternoon, it will be the second time in three weeks that these two teams have faced off.
In the Thanksgiving weekend matchup between the two teams Chicago walked out of Soldier Field with a 28-10 victory.
However, this will be a much different Bears team that faced the Vikings two weeks ago. Chicago has had a ton of injuries the past few games and will be without star middle linebacker Brian Urlacher.
However The Bears will have wide receivers Devin Hester (missed a majority of the Vikings' game and last week's game due to a concussion), and rookie Alshon Jeffery (knee) back on the field. On the flip side, the Vikings also were dealt a rather large blow losing star wide receiver Percy Harvin for the reminder of the season due to an ankle injury.
1. The Return of Alshon Jeffery will power the Bears' Offense
The Bears' offense has really been a one man show this season with the addition of Brandon Marshall. After having such a big game in a loosing effort versus Seattle last week the Vikings will be looking to shut Marshall down.
All the attention being paid to Marshall will allow Jeffery to find openings and have his first truly big game as a wide receiver in the NFL. Bears fans have been clamoring for Jeffery to break out opposite of Marshall all season, however due to injuries Jeffery has been largely a non factor in the Bears' offense.
Between a broken hand suffered in Jacksonville, and a knee injury suffered versus the 49ers Jeffery has missed six of the last seven games the Bears have played.
Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler loves his tall, large bodied wideouts and will be looking to take advantage of Jeffery's size against single coverage early and often Sunday afternoon.
2. Adrian Peterson Will Rush For 150 Yards
The Chicago Bears' defense has been very stout against the run all season, but with Urlacher out Peterson ought to be licking his chops. Without their defensive leader on the field the Bears' defense will not be nearly as effective, especially against the run.
Peterson ran for 108 yards and no touchdowns against the Bears back in Week 12. Look for AP to run over the Bears early and often particularly up the middle in Urlacher's absence.
Peterson has been on a tear all season and knows exactly how to exploit a mismatch. Fantasy Football team owners with Peterson should be rather happy with his output Sunday afternoon that could also result in multiple touchdowns.
3. The Bears Will Win This Game by a Touchdown
While Peterson will have a big game versus the Bears, it will be not enough for the Vikings to pull out a victory in front of their home crowd.
Even with Urlacher out the Vikings simply do not have enough weapons on offense to keep up with the Bears' defense in this game. Having Alshon Jeffery back should give the Bears a one-two punch in the receiving corps that Jay Cutler has been coveting all year long.
After losing to Seattle last week the Bears know it is do or die time in order to win the NFC North division title, and have any hope of a bye in the first round of the NFC playoffs.
With all these things factored together it looks like the Bears will pull this one out by a touchdown. This should be a fun, exciting NFC North battle that could ultimately decide who is going to the playoffs and who will start planning for the off season.