Chicago Bears Week 15 Preview: Minnesota Vikings


The Chicago Bears travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. The Vikings are looking to clinch a playoff berth while the Bears are hoping to play the role of spoilers.

Good news, Chicago Bears fans. Your team is playing on the road this week. The Bears have a 1-6 record at home, but have a 4-2 record on the road.

The Bears will need to take that road warrior mentality on Sunday. They take on the Minnesota Vikings, who are technically still alive for the NFC North title, but are definitely in the race for a Wild Card berth. In fact, with a win and some help, the Vikings can actually clinch a playoff berth on Sunday.

The Chicago Bears will try to play spoilers and prevent that from happening, at least for this week. In order to do that, they will have to adjust some things from the way they have been doing them the last couple of weeks.

The Chicago Bears defense needs to start playing well earlier than they have in recent games. They have gotten off to slow starts early, then shut down their opponent late.

The Chicago Bears have been outscored 89-41 in the first quarter this season, and last week against Washington they were down 14-0 early.

It is important for the defense to avoid making mistakes early in the game. The Vikings, of course, have a great running game, leaning on future Hall-of-Fame running back Adrian Peterson.

Peterson loves running against the Chicago Bears. He rushed for 103 yards, and averaged 5.15 yards per carry in the teams’ matchup in Week 8, a Vikings victory.

If the Vikings get off to an early lead, they can feed Peterson and sit on that lead.

The Chicago Bears defense will need to do something it has not done very much this season — slow down the running game. They rank 26th in yards allowed, and 30th in average yards per carry.

If the Bears can can off to a quick start and take an early lead themselves, they can make the Vikings a one-dimensional team and have them depend on Teddy Bridgewater to beat them.

Bridgewater has shown that he has yet to succeed without a big game from Peterson. In games in which Peterson has failed to rush for 100 yards, the Vikings are 2-5.

The Chicago Bears are hoping to have their defensive leader, Pernell

Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

McPhee, back. He has missed the last two games with a knee injury, but is on track to start on Sunday. He said if he was there the last two weeks, there would not be the slow starts that the defense suffered through.

“If I would have been out there, that (stuff) wouldn’t have happened… They came to the sideline and … I talked to the guys, and we got right after that,” he said. “We’re all right, though. We won’t start off like that again.”

If the Chicago Bears can force the game into Bridgewater’s hands, the defense has the horses who can get after him.

Defensive tackle Eddie Goldman leads all rookies in sacks this season. Outside linebacker Willie Young has 4.5 sacks in the last four games, and recorded eight tackles (three for loss) last week against Washington. The other outside linebacker, Lamarr Houston, has also been hot. He has five sacks in his last six games, and against Washington he recorded 10 tackles (two for loss). Add McPhee to the mix, and Bridgewater can be in for a long day.

The fate of this game will lie with the Chicago Bears’ defensive line. If they can contain Peterson, it will be a good day for Chicago. If not…

On offense, the offensive line needs to rebound from last week’s weak performance. The line has played well this season, but last week they had their worst performance of the season.

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The line gave up three sacks and committed four penalties. There will need to be an improvement in order for Jay Cutler to complete passes and for holes to be opened for Matt Forte and Jeremy Langford.

The Vikings defense, like the Bears, are deficient against the run. They rank 20th against the run. With the two-headed monster of Forte and Langford, the Bears can punish the Vikings on the ground and wear them down.

Cutler has been having a very good season, so if he has some time, he can find the open man.

The one he has to connect with is Alshon Jeffery.

Cutler and Jeffery have connected and found the end zone just three times this season, even though Jeffery has 797 receiving yards, 15 yards per catch and 99.6 yards per game.

With the receiving corps decimated by injuries, Jeffery will have to play like a number one receiver both in yards and touchdowns.

If the game is close late, we need to all light a candle and say a prayer for poor Robbie Gould. He has missed three field goals in the past two games, field goals that cost the Chicago Bears two victories and a chance at going to the playoffs.

Gould is having one of his worst seasons, missing six field goals. After making his first 17 consecutive field goals, he has made just nine of his last 15. Hopefully, he gets whatever is ailing him out of his system, and he returns to being as good as Gould. In any case, I think we are looking at the last days of the Chicago Bears’ leading scorer in franchise history.

Next: Chicago Bears: Who Should Stay and Who Should Go?

The Vikings have been coming down to reality lately. After a 7-2 start, they have lost three of their last four games. The Bears are hoping they can keep them in the loss column. They would relish the chance to play spoiler against their division rival.