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Week 14 Preview: Chicago Bears at Vikings
Deja Vu, right? It seems like just a couple of weeks ago that we were talking about a matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears. It just so happens that was accurate. These two teams will face off for the second time in three weeks. Since their last meeting, the Vikings have lost to the Green Bay Packers and the Bears have lost to the Seattle Seahawks. If either team has aspirations of making the post-season, the'll need to win this inter-divisional matchup. Let's investigate some specifics that could help the Vikings win this game.
Slowing Down Jay Cutler
The last time these two teams met, Jay Cutler pretty much had his way with this Vikings team. He went 23-31 for 188 yards and a touchdown. That might not seem particularly impressive, but that includes a first have in which Cutler went 15 of 17 for 117 yards in the first half. The Vikings really only started cracking down on the passing game in the second half, by which time they were pretty much out of the game. This season Cutler has been much more vulnerable when being rushed aggressively. The Vikings have the talent to pull off this task, but will they do it this week? We're looking forward to see if they can.
Adrian Peterson is on pace for a career year. With four games left to go, he sits at 1,446 yards, with a career best average of 120.5 yards per game. In his current streak of 6 games with 100+ yards, he's averaging 142 yards per game. If he can continue that pace, he'll go over 2,000 yards on the season. Today he'll be facing a depleted Bears roster that will be without several defensive starters, including cornerback Tim Jennings and perennial Pro Bowl-er Brian Urlacher. The Bears are allowing 103.5 rushing yards per game, which is good for 10th in the NFL, but they're also allowing 129 rushing yards per game since their bye week. Adrian has been on a tear, but the Bears also managed to hold him to his least amount of rushing yards during this streak. we're curious to see how it goes down today.
Christian Ponder Vs. The Bears Defense
Christian Ponder has been a frequent topic of conversation this year due to his inconsistent play. He's actually averaging less yards per pass attempt(6.0) than Adrian Peterson is averaging per carry(6.2). Needless to say, that's a trend that cannot continue if the Vikings expect to be able to win. Adrian's 210 yard performance in what was ultimately a loss was proof that a crushing ground game won't be enough to push this team over the top. It's also going to need success from the passing game, and with 8 defenders in the box for most plays, Ponder should be able to find an open receiver. Unfortunately, he's been having troubles with that of late. Perhaps a return to Mall of America field will help, or perhaps Ponder will be revitalized after getting engaged this past week. Either way, he has a lot to prove these last four games if he wants to win back the fan base(or even a starting job in 2013).
Today's game against the Bears kicks off from Mall of America 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 "worst case scenario", 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.