This afternoon we have an NFC North showdown between the Bears and Vikings that has playoff implications throughout the NFC. The Vikings currently sit at second place within the division and hold the 6th Seed in the Conference, whereas the Bears are currently in the chase for a wildcard spot. The Bears’ season has had its ups and downs so far; beating the Packers at Lambeau Field for the first time since 2013, whilst getting shut out by the Seahawks in Seattle. They’ve been without Jay Cutler for a game, Matt Forte for 3 and even Alshon Jeffrey was injured through Weeks 2 to 5. However the Bears currently sit with a 1-3 divisional record, through the aforementioned defeat of the Packers, and three losses split between the Vikings, Packers and Lions. The Vikings started their season receiving an absolute beatdown at the hands of the 49ers. However since this game they have turned their hopes around and are having a fairly decent season so far; they own the leagues 5th best rushing offense behind Adrian Peterson, and Teddy Bridgewater has been doing a great job complementing his running through the air. They’re currently sitting at 3-1 within the division, having defeated the Lions twice, the Bears once so far and conceding a loss to the Packers.
Three keys to the game
1. Can the Bears shut down the Vikings rushing attack?
The last time the Bears played the Vikings, it was a high scoring affair, with the Vikings coming out eventual victors through a walk-off field goal. Wondering what thee secret to the Vikings success was? A.P. In this game ‘all day’ ran for over 100 yards, and although the bears held him from scoring, they were able to score off the back of the punishing ground game
2. Can Jay Cutler stay mistake free?
In almost every game that Jay Cutler has thrown as many, or more interceptions that Touchdowns, the Bears have lost. The only game that the Bears lost without a Cutler turnover was the last game in which these two teams met.
3. Which running back will the Bears go with?
Matt Forte has reached 30, and they’re bringing their rookie back out of Michigan State; Jeremy Langford into the rotation to spell the more experienced back. It seems that the Bears will go with a ‘hot hand’ approach to this rotation, however expect to see a lot of Forte in key 3rd down situation
Match-up to watch: Terence Newman vs Alshon Jeffrey
Terence Newman is the Vikings leading Defensive Back, with 3 interceptions, and 45 tackles. Newman has done a fairly good job in following opposing Wide receivers all over the field; from Megatron to James Jones, to Larry Fitzgerald, it’s going to be interesting to see how he gets on against Jeffrey in this early afternoon match up at TCF Bank Stadium
Prediction: Minnesota Vikings
Last time these two teams met it was a low scoring affair, however the Vikings came out with the win in the end. I’m gonna go with my gut on this one and say that they’re going to take the win twice, however it’ll only be within a score.