It’s early, but you can’t overstate how important the Minnesota Vikings week two showdown against the Chicago Bears is. Minnesota is coming off of a very disappointing week one loss, while the Bears were able to pull out a win in their home opener. As the teams get set to do battle from Soldier Field, it’s pretty clear that this game will go along way towards determining how the NFC North will shake out in 2013.
Teams that start 0-2, historically have about a 12% chance of making the playoffs. This is why Vikings’ fans everywhere are sweating this showdown with the Bears. On top of that, Minnesota hasn’t left Soldier Field with a win since 2007.
The Vikings will get one of their key defensive players back just in time for this one, though. DT Kevin Williams is set to return, following a preseason knee injury that almost ended his year. The defensive line is already a big strength for the purple and gold and the addition of Williams should go along way towards getting pressure on Jay Cutler.
Chicago has the edge in the receiver/cornerback battles, as both Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are bigger than Chris Cook and Josh Robinson. If Minnesota can’t get pressure on Cutler to make him force some throws, they’ll be in trouble. The Vikings are typically pretty good against the run, so I believe the game could boil down to how many times Cutler has to pick himself up off the ground.
Minnesota is not going to be able to win a shootout. They will have to slow the game down and try their best to best more physical than Chicago on both sides of the ball. The defense has to come to play, because let’s face it, Christian Ponder needs all the help he can get. Especially, on the road.