Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears: Three Bold Predictions
The Chicago Bears (7-3) were taken to the woodshed Monday night in San Francisco.
For the second straight week the offense sputtered. For the second straight week the Bears lost the turnover battle.
Neither of which is a formula for success, obviously. Now for the good news.
Starting quarterback Jay Cutler received the OK from an independent neurologist on Saturday to play on Sunday when the Bears play host to the Minnesota Vikings (6-4).
The Bears also find themselves still in the NFC playoff picture entering Sunday despite showing no signs of being a playoff contender the past two weeks.
Two heaping helpings of humble pie and the Bears are ready to get back on track. Now its back to division play for the Bears and against a team they have much success over in the past couple years.
The Bears have rattled off five straight wins over the Vikings. A win on Sunday would match the Bears' longest winning streak in the series.
After a strong 5-1 start to the season the Vikings are in desperate need of a victory to keep its playoff hopes alive.
With a loss to the Packers (7-3) already in hand, the Bears can not afford to drop another division game.
Now that we know what’s at stake, let’s take a look at my predictions for the game.
Cutler bounces back.
The last time the franchise quarterback saw action he had a half of football he would rather forget about. The end result was his second concussion in the last three years and missed the Monday night debacle.
Cutler also has a ton of success against the Vikings. He has a 5-1 record in his career against the Vikes and has tossed 15 TD passes (the most against any opponent). He also has a 100.8 quarterback rating against Minnesota.
It will be interesting to see if offensive coordinator Mike Tice finally tones down the playing calling and dials up more runs, but don’t hold your breath on that happening.
Prediction: Cutler 19-27 263 yards 2 TDs, 0 INT.
Chicago defense shuts down AP.
The Bears' defense was embarrassed last week against a young quarterback that was making his first NFL start. Look for this group to play with a chip on its shoulders on Sunday. What better way to make a statement bounce back than to shut down the NFL’s leading rusher?
Adrian Peterson enters the game with a league-leading 1,128 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Peterson, who is coming off of reconstructive knee surgery, has almost doubled Matt Forte’s rushing total this season.
The Bears' defense has actually bottled Peterson up the last two meetings. He was held to just 39 yards on the ground on 12 totes in the lone meeting last season (missed the season finale with knee injury) and gained just 51 yards on 17 carries in final meeting of 2011. Both games were played at Soldier Field.
Look for the Bears to stack the box and make the Vikings one dimensional.
Prediction: Peterson 20 carries, 71 yards 0 TDs.
Jared Allen gets shut out.
The last time these two teams met Allen roughed up the Bears' offensive line en route to three quarterback sacks. If the fierce Vikings' pass-rusher watched the Bears game Monday night in San Francisco, he has to be foaming at the mouth.
Aldon Smith bullied his way to five of the 49ers six sacks against backup quarterback Jason Campbell.
Insert Johnathon Scott and Chris Spencer to the o-line and well…things can’t get any worse than Monday night right? Mike Tice has already mentioned the Bears' plan to use an extra blocker to help “chip” Allen.
Spencer already lost his starting job once this season -- Chilo Rachal replaced him after the loss to the Packers in Week 2 -- so look for him to play with more of an edge as well.
As for regulars, Roberto Garza, Lance Louis and J’Marcus Webb (how he is still a starter is beyond belief) they should also want to keep Cutler upright.
Everyone playing with an edge should translate into good things all around.
Prediction: Allen ZERO sacks, Vikings' defense one total sack.
As you can tell with the three predictions all things point to a Chicago win. It doesn’t help matters that the Vikings will be playing without all everything Percy Harvin.
Game prediction: Bears 27, Vikings 10.
TRAVIS DAVID is a contributor for FOOTBALL NATION and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Tdavid_21.