[picappgallerysingle id="10138862"]Jonathan Carroll of Rant Sports’ Bears Headquarters and I took the time to ask each other a couple of questions about the upcoming Bears-Vikings game. Make sure to check out Bears Headquarters for more game previews and predictions.
Here are Jonathan’s questions for me, and my answers:
JC: What the heck is going on with the inmates hating Brad Childress? What caused this problem?
SM: I think that the players are drawing the same conclusions as the fans: Brad Childress is not the coach who is going to get this team a Superbowl victory. He’s just not. The only thing that Childress does well is the draft (quarterbacks are an exception to that rule). Otherwise, for a guy who’s supposed to be some kind of offensive whiz kid, he’s got nothing in terms of offensive plays.
Plus, Childress butts heads with the quarterback (Brett Favre) and cut our recently acquired star receiver (Randy Moss) after Moss called it like it is – telling owner Zygi Wilf that Childress is a bad coach. Now, Moss has played for the worst (Dennis Green) and the best (Bill Belichik), so he knows what he’s talking about. Cutting Moss (supposedly without owner permission) was, I think, the final straw for everyone – particularly Favre. And the knowledge that the Vikings just aren’t going to turn things around with Childress at the helm – he hasn’t got the coaching skills to win the whole thing.
And you can’t have your leaders (your quarterback and your head coach) butting heads. It’s not good for morale or cohesion.
JC: Do you think all the efforts by the Vikings to bring back “The Million Dollar Baby” Brett Favre created a distraction?
SM: No, I don’t think so. Everybody’s used to the ruckus Favre creates, so I don’t think it’s any different than last year. But we don’t have the receiving core we used to have, and by cutting Moss, we’re back where we were several weeks ago. Favre’s a baby, that’s for sure – but if you’re going to cut the only reliable backup guy we had (Sage Rosenfels), then you’ve got to bring him back, and you’ve got to play him. Unfortunately, Favre’s not as good this year, and that’s been the biggest problem, not distractions.
JC: What player(s) on the Chicago Bears concern(s) you?
SM: On the offense, Jay Cutler concerns me – I think he’s an underrated quarterback. Fortunately, the Bears don’t exactly have a stalwart offensive line, so that neutralizes the effect that Cutler can have. Chester Taylor is a concern – I think he’ll probably play very hard against the Vikings, especially given the disparaging comments he’s made about the organization of late (not that I blame him). Johnny Knox can light up the field if he’s given the opportunity.
On the defensive side, I’d be crazy not to be worried about Julius Peppers – the guy’s awesome. And, as always, you can never count out Brian Urlacher. You always worry about Charles Tillman, too.
JC: How do the Vikings win this game? How about the Bears?
SM: The Vikings have to step up offensively. We’ve got to get the ball to Percy Harvin and Visanthe Shaincoe, and we need to establish the running game early with both Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart. That means our offensive line needs to block. Defensively, we’ve got to put pressure on Cutler. If we don’t, he’ll pick us apart.
The Bears need to do the same thing, except I’d say their focus should be passing, not rushing, given the Vikings’ injury-riddled secondary. That said, the Vikings have been giving up a lot more rushing yardage this year than they did last year, and Chester Taylor knows the system, so the Bears should use that to their advantage. But their defense has to get to Favre, and they’ve got to stop Adrian Peterson.
SM: You’re not gonna like this, but I think the Vikings take this one. I know the Bears have a better schedule, and I know they always play the Vikings tough (especially at Soldier Field), but I think that you’ve got to take their record with a grain of salt. They’ve played pretty easy teams, and they didn’t deserve the first win they got against Detroit. I don’t think the Bears would have fared any better against the much more difficult teams the Vikings have played, and I think last week showed that the Vikings have gotten their groove back (even without Moss). So, I think the Vikings win this one in a tight race, maybe 21-17. That’s my prediction.