The Bears looked terrible on both sides of the ball in a lopsided lose to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night football, which was easily their worst performance of the season and yielded no positives other than punter Adam Podlesh finally showing some decent form with his boot.
Despite a recent run of poor form, and without word as to whether QB Jay Cutler will pass his mandatory independent neurology test and be able to play Sunday (my assumption/prayer is that he will), HC Lovie Smith had his usual glass half full outlook on the Bears moving forward:
“We have to take 7-3 into it. I’m not disappointed in us being at the top of our division with the best record, tied for the best record in our division. That’s the football team that we are.”
One statistic straight off the bat that should bolster the confidence of fans is that since 2008, the Bears are 6-2 in their next game following a loss of 20 points or more. Those six wins have come by an average of nearly 17 points.
I am never one to revel in the misfortunes of opposing teams, but the loss of WR Percy Harvin is huge for the Bears in pass defense. With their biggest passing threat down the Vikings will lean more heavily on Adrian Peterson to establish the run game and open up the passing attack.
The Vikings will require another strong performance from Peterson; he leads the league with 1,128 rushing yards, averaging 5.8 per carry with seven touchdowns. He’s gained 629 of those yards and scored five times on 82 carries over the last four games.
Peterson came up big again prior to the Vikings’ bye two weeks ago, carrying the ball 27 times for 171 yards, with 61 of those yards coming on a fourth quarter touchdown in a 34-24 win over the Detroit Lions.
On the Bears offensive outlook, LG Chilo Rachal and RT Gabe Carimi have both been benched. Additionally, Rachal has played his last down in Chicago after having a freak-out about being dropped and subsequently placed on the reserve/non-football injury list.
The Bears absolutely have to find someone to step up across from WR Brandon Marshall. Rookie Alshon Jeffrey is out after having a knee scope, while Devin Hester and Earl Bennett have failed miserably to secure a solid spot as every down receivers.
Mike Tice is still struggling to call a good game, and his o-line ranks second worst in sacks allowed (34) in the NFL. Going forward the Bears hopes will rely on Tice becoming a good play caller otherwise I don’t see any way this team can win a Super Bowl.
Score Prediction: Bears 30- 13 Vikings