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Week 12 Preview: Vikings at Chicago Bears
This season has been a series of ups and downs, but most people believe that, as good as this season has been compared to last season, the most critical stretch begins right now. In the next three weeks, the Vikings face the Bears, the Packers and then the Bears again. Not only is this a three game gauntlet against two of the better current teams in the NFC, but it also(obviously) is a guantlet against the two best teams in the division. It goes without saying, but any team that's interested in making the playoffs, is going to have to win games against other teams in their division. This game against the Bears will mark the first game against an NFC opponent against a team other than Detroit so far this season. The Vikings are coming off a bye, and the Bears are coming off of a short week after falling to Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night against the San Francisco 49ers. Jay Cutler will be playing in this game, but Percy Harvin will not. Let's look at some things that might help determine the outcome of this game.
Jay Cutler, Post Concussion
The past two weeks(well, the last week and some change), the Bears have been working with former Washington Redskins castoff and Auburn standout, Jason Campbell at quarterback. Campbell never really seemed in sync with the Redskins, and has appeared even less competent with the Bears. Previously a guy that some had considered as a viable offseason pickup, Campbell has essentially "led" the Bears to and 0-2 record since Cutler's 7-1 start. Bears fans will certainly be excited for Cutler's return after what Campbell has brought to the table. But will it make a big difference? This season, Jay Cutler has registered 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. In a limited sampling, Jason Campbell has offered 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. In other words, both quarterbacks are throwing up fewer TDs than they are Interceptions. And both QBs are getting sacked. Jay's been sacked 28 times in 9 games. Will Jay Cutler be able to make a difference in the Bears passing game as compared to their last two outings? That could be a major difference in how this game pans out. We'll be keeping a sharp eyes on the outcome.
Adrian Peterson on a Career Year?
In the rare event that you haven't noticed, Adrian Peterson has been on a complete tear lately. In the past four games, he's averaged 157 yards per game. That's one of the best four game stretches of his career, and it's been a major help for the Vikings this season. Pretty amazing considering the injury he's coming off of. Coincedentally the Bears have given up more than 100 yards per game in their past two losses. They've given up quality yards against Frank Gore and Arian Foster. Could they possibly give up another solid running game to Adrian Peterson? We'll be curious to see how AD runs against this secondary.
Christian Ponder Vs. The Bears Defense
After a series of games in which Christian Ponder seemed to be having troubles against defenses, Ponder bounced back a tad against the Detroit Lions in week 10. After a five game turnover streak, Ponder bounced back with a great game in which he had no turnovers and threw two touchdowns. The Bears have forced the most turnovers in the NFL with 34, including 19 interceptions, which also leads the league. As mentioned earlier, Ponder hasn't fared particularly well with aggressive defenses. We'll be curious to see what he can do against a defense of this calibur, especially with two weeks to prepare agasint them.
Today's game against the Bears kicks off from Soldier Field here in the Twin Cities at noon on the FAN. Paul Allen and Pete Bercich will handle the call on 100.3FM here in the Twin Cities and across the Vikings Radio Network.
Check out the graphic to the left. It was created by "K I L L E R C H E F", a regular in Purple Chat. Check out the other submissions in this week's competition on Purple Chat. Have a fresh idea for next week's game? Pay attention to Purple Chat for next week's Gameday Graphic thread. Did we miss out on a major plot line for today's game? Tell us below or on Purple Chat.
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This article was written by jab. You can normally find him meandering around Rube Chat. Or feel free to email him at email@example.com.