The Chicago Bears host the Minnesota Vikings in a divisional battle this Sunday in Minnesota. The game will be at 1:00 pm eastern time and will be shown on FOX.
Why you should watch: The Bears look to bounce back after a crushing defeat at home to the Seattle Seahawks last week, and the Vikings hope to right the ship with a win at home. Chicago lost in overtime last weekend at home, allowing the Green Bay Packers to tie them for the NFC North lead. Minnesota has lost 4 of 5 and is now facing the rest of their season without their leading wide receiver Percy Harvin. Harvin was placed on injured reserve with an injured ankle and will miss the rest of the season. Adrian Peterson, meanwhile, appears to be fully recovered from his ACL injury from last year, and is on a roll this season.
What to watch for: Adrian Peterson has re-asserted himself as the best running back in the NFL this season, after miraculously recovering from a torn ACL in week 15 last season to rushing for 210 yards last week, less than a year removed from the injury. Peterson will hope to find the same type of running room he did against Green Bay. Chicago has been excellent against the run, so this should be an excellent battle of will and ball control. Other than Peterson, the Vikings’ offense is not that explosive, so the Bears will be keying on Peterson to stop Minnesota’s offense.
Key Matchups: Jared Allen has been one of the most disruptive pass rushers in the NFL over the last few seasons. Though the Vikings defense has had a down couple of weeks, he is always a threat to blow up Chicago’s gameplan. Chicago’s offensive line has not been very effective, but they did keep Jay Cutler upright for most of the game last week, and will be eager to prove that they can handle the pass rush again. Look to see Chicago use more max protection schemes and use of play action to freeze Minnesota’s pass rush.
The Pick: Chicago will have to fight through this one, but they will stifle the Vikings’ offense in Minnesota in this one, 21-10. Minnesota will keep it close for most of the game, but ultimately their lack of explosiveness on the outside will doom them in a physical, hard-fought battle.