8-8 is still on the table. 3-3 in the division is still on the table. Neither remains there if the Bears lose in Minnesota Sunday. I don’t think a John Fox team ever lacks for motivation and this one has no reason to.
THE GAME POEM
“Shall fair ladies never learn that I,
from blows me shielding, backward turned me;
nor shall ever Ingibiorg taunt me,
in Sigtuna sitting, that from sword-blows I fled.”
-From the Old Norse poem, Hialmar’s Death Song
3 THOUGHTS ON THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS
- Blaine Gabbert, Kirk Cousins and now Teddy Bridgewater. The Bears are facing three very similar quarterbacks in a row and Bridgewater might be the most limited of the bunch. As a quarterback he does two things I don’t like consistently: (a) he doesn’t create plays with his legs when he feels pressure in the pocket and (b) he doesn’t stretch defenses with his arm. He’s a quick read/quick toss dink-and-dunker. If the Bears play soft on the outside, they deserve to have the ball moved on them.
- Hard to evaluate the Vikings defense in recent weeks as arguably their three best defenders have been on the bench. But Linval Joseph and Harrison Smith returned to the practice field this week and there’s a very slight (very) chance Anthony Barr will give it a go Sunday. It shouldn’t be expected that any of them are 100% but their presence in the lineup can only be positive.
- Minnesota is arguably the best kick return team in the league. (They already did some damage against the Bears this season.) The Bears coverage units can’t allow the Vikings to score on specials or play on short fields. Although, with the way the football is leaving Robbie’s foot these days, I’d expect the Vikings to have several shots to make a game-changing play on specials.
I DID A VIKINGS PODCAST…
…and spent a lot of time discussing my belief that the mainstream media has no clue when it comes to distributing their content digitally. I also predicted Jay Cutler would be in the conversation for MVP of the league in 2016. So…both of those things.
WATCH OUT FOR KYLE RUDOLPH
Why did Jordan Reed slice and dice the Bears defense last week? The answers are simple. (1) Bryce Callahan has proved to be valuable at the slot corner and one of his responsibilities would have been to cover Reed. (2) The other two positions involved in that task – inside linebacker and safety – are the roster’s most obvious holes. The best player at those positions is Adrian Amos, who has suddenly started playing like a rookie. (3) Vic Fangio, President Emeritus of the Shea McClellin Fan Club, hinted this week that Shea is still hindered by injury, limiting his range.
Norv Turner is as smart and savvy a play-caller as the league has ever seen. He salivated watching the Bears/Redskins tape. Expect Teddy Bridgewater’s first read to be Rudolph on more than 50% of his throws Sunday.
From somebody called David Rappoccio at UPROXX (thanks to Data for the link on Twitter):
THREE BEARS OF INTRIGUE
- If Robbie Gould made his kicks the last two weeks, the Bears would be playing a de facto playoff game in Minnesota this week. But Gould is a mess. And when a team finds themselves in a coin flip game every week it is helpful if a guy who can singlehandedly put three points on the board is able to do it.
- Hard to have much faith in the middle linebackers keeping Adrian Peterson in check so the pressure will fall to Adrian Amos and Chris Prosinski. Their objective? Make sure the 8-10 yard rush up the middle doesn’t turn into a seventy-five yard touchdown. The Bears have survived 8-10 yard runs all season. They can’t survive the home run.
- Even when he struggled in early September, Kyle Long never looked as bad as he did Sunday against Washington. His confidence was clearly rattled in pass protection. Long is going to be a very good tackle for a very long time but it will be interesting to see how he responds to his first truly embarrassing game as a professional.
COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR?
The NFL is run by buffoons. Here was the second-ranked player in their article profiling Comeback Player of the Year candidates:
Adrian Peterson is coming back from a suspension for BEATING THE SHIT OUT OF A TINY CHILD WITH A WEAPON. Third place Eric Berry? Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. And don’t forget…serial rapist Darren Sharper is still eligible for the Hall of Fame. I won’t re-post the horrifying images of abuse. I’ll just post the text messages wherein the mother of Adrian’s child is essentially begging him to stop.
Robbie makes one.
Chicago Bears 24, Minnesota Vikings 23