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Getting Back on Track

Posted By Smiley On Nov 25 2012 @ 4:22 am In Chicago Bears | 1 Comment

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears November 26, 2012 12:00 ct 

Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois

By The Numbers

As the Bears defense looked as though it took a step back against the San Francisco 49ers, the Vikings have maintained a Top 15 defense. The Vikes rank 15th and 14th in passing and rushing yards allowed, respectively.  They are also 13th and points allowed this season and all three stats are a big step forward considering where they were last year. While the Bears have allowed back to back 100+ yard games from the Texans and 49ers, the Viking’s Adrian  Peterson has improved over the course of the season after a very dangerous knee injury in January. Peterson has helped Minnesota gain 439 rushing yards over the past two games and 243 against a stout Seattle defense. Both the Seahawks and Detroit Lions ran for 255 yards combined against the Vikings, however. This will be good evidence for Mike Tice and the offense to run the ball, especially if they want to start a run as the season nears its end. Interestingly, the Bears have only rushed for less than 100 yards once this season when playing at home (against the Panthers where they were forced to pass to play catch-up).  Minnesota has also allowed at least 230 yards passing in 3 out of their last 4 games a good sign for Cutler and co. But the Vikings have managed to do the same against the same amount of opponents in the last 4 games.

Beyond The Numbers

This game has to be about the offense, the Bears have done little to prove that they can handle the better teams in the NFL after losing back-to-back games against the Texans and 9ers, the latter game resulting in a thrashing in Candlestick Park. As Mike Tice discussed with reporters, the Bears need to find consistency and they need to find it fast. Four of the last 6 games will be against division opponents and if  Lovie Smith’s crew is serious about winning the division for the 2nd time in 3 years they will need to fix their offensive woes and maintain stability in the defense. Ways to do this solely rest on the shoulders of secondary guys on offense. Earl Bennett needs to consistently find holes in defenses, Devin Hester needs to catch the ball and then make plays when he does and the Tight End problem needs to find a solution.

Special Teams:

Many people want to blame Devin Hester when it comes to not producing on punt and kick returns. On the contrary, the problem lies in the coverage on punts and kicks. Sherrick McManis is a main offender on punt returns when it comes to holding or blocking penalties, sometimes these negate adequate returns from Hester. One could say #23 isn’t being aggressive enough or running sideways too much, but holes have to open up and most times he is staring at 5 or 6 guys lined up trying to stop him before he even travels 5 yards. Just some food for thought.

My Prediction:

Vikings: 14 Bears: 21

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