A day after the Chicago Bears opened up the season with a win against the Cincinnati Bengals, the team is already focused on the next week’s task: Taking down division rivals in the Minnesota Vikings. As is the usual game plan, the Bears will focus on one thing and one thing only.
The Vikings are pretty one-dimensional themselves, and the Bears will be looking to stop running back Adrian Peterson in order to guarantee a victory. Outside of Peterson, it will be difficult for Minnesota to get anything going offensively. Quarterback Christian Ponder is still very raw and has struggled to stay consistent as Minnesota’s starter.
The Bears held Cincinnati to 63 yards rushing on Sunday, doing a great job filling the gaps and making stops. The big troublesome area for Chicago was on third down. Chicago began the game allowing the Bengals to go 8-10 on third down, thus the defense not getting off the field nearly as much as they’d like.
“We’ve got to improve defensively,” coach Marc Trestman said after the game. “We’ve got to get off the field. We didn’t do a good job of getting off the field on the defensive side.
If there was one thing the Bears need to improve on, it is third down defense. As a whole, the team must get a pass rush going with their front four. Chicago only recorded one sack in the opener, a shocking statistic from a normally-good defensive front.
Peterson always runs hard against Chicago, and the Bears know that. Committing to stop him and allowing Ponder the opportunity to beat them will be the number one thing to watch for in this game. With two new starters at linebacker, the Bears are still getting used to their new look within their front seven. James Anderson and D.J. Williams played well against the run Sunday, and I expect them to be very active in the coming game against Peterson.
In the end, this defense will force a couple of turnovers one way or another. It may not be courtesy of Peterson, and actually the Bears would like it to turn out that way in fact. If the turnovers come by way of Ponder, that means they are doing their job taking care of Peterson.
After a 78-yard outburst to begin the game, Peterson was slowed down considerably by the Detroit Lions defense. He will be looking to get going early against Chicago this Sunday. The Bears’ chances of going 2-0 hinge on their ability to disallow that from happening. Can they contain the reigning MVP? That is the question.