Sharpen your pencils, folks. Mr. Peterson will be administering the examination Sunday.
What the Chicago Bears must do to win Sunday
One of the most crucial factors of any football game is ball security. Quarterback Josh McCown has done a great job of preventing turnovers, whether it be utilizing his many options to get rid of the ball or simply throwing it away. He has only had one interception in his short-lived career as starter. Someone who is always around the ball for the Vikings is safety Harrison Smith, but he has been placed on injured reserve which gives McCown a great chance to keep the turnovers to a minimum.
Matt Forte has done a nice job as well, only fumbling the ball twice this season. If the Bears can hold onto the football, they will give themselves a great chance to get the win.
Even though I did not list this at the top, this will be paramount to a Bears’ victory- contain AP. The defense has been taking a big hit all season, recently giving up 261 rushing yards last Sunday to Tavon Austin, Benny Cunningham and Zac Stacy. Against the Vikings in Week 2, the Bears held Peterson to just 100 yards in a 31-30 Bears victory. The Bears have had trouble simply tackling opponents, specifically safeties Chris Conte and Major Wright. Tackling Peterson in addition to wideouts Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson will be a tall task, but the Bears will give themselves a shot at winning.
Newly acquired defensive end Jeremiah Ratliff will make his long-awaited debut Sunday after being hampered with an injury, so that should help the Bears replicate that effort. Defensive tackle Stephen Paea will also return to action, which provides an additional boost of optimism.
The last two games, the Bears have started very slow. In their matchup with the Baltimore Ravens, they started slow but ended up escaping with a victory. Against the St. Louis Rams, they started very slow and lost. This is something Marc Trestman has talked about- doing a better job out of the gate and starting strong. If the Bears want to make the playoffs and compete for a Super Bowl, they need to get off to a fast start and leave their feet on the gas pedal.
The two team’s records can be thrown out due to the fact this is a divisional matchup. The Vikings are playing to spoil teams’ playoff hopes, so that will always make for a dangerous opponent. The Bears are looking to improve their chances for a seat at the playoff table, so they will come hungry and (hopefully) ready to go from the opening kickoff.
The Vikings are a tough team, despite their record. This game could very well be a ‘trap’ game for the Bears, so they need to put the Vikings and Peterson away fast.