Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE
We offer our six keys to victory as the Bears head into tomorrow's matchup against the Vikings.
1) Adrian Peterson, Adrian Peterson, and Adrian Peterson
With Percy Harvin listed as doubtful (now declared out in the middle of me typing this...) and missing Sunday's game, all the offense rests on Adrian Peterson, who's been largely held in check against the Bears the last couple years but is having a great season thus far. And after a couple games where the Bears just couldn't get gap control for anything, now they have to deal with Peterson. Can the Bears return to their early season form against the run?
2) Jared Allen, Jared Allen, and Jared... Oh, you get the point.
Not to take anything away from Brian Robison, who's got 5.5 sacks on the season and could add a pair or two to it, but Jared Allen almost singlehandedly took the Bears' offense apart in Week 17 last year, and was inches away from setting the league's single-season sack record. And with the changes on the Bears' offensive line, J'Marcus Webb is still at left tackle. What will it take to keep Allen away from Jay Cutler?
3) Quick Routes - Get the Ball Out
Speaking of Jay Cutler, the Recently Concussed One will return to the Bears' huddle, and with the Bears' scoring 13 combined points over the last two games, they need him. However, coming off a concussion and with Jared Allen and Robison lining up against him, the Bears should make a point of emphasis to get the ball out quickly. Slants, stops, and screens would be a good start, and then work to the deeper routes.
4) Devin Hester - The One Team He Catches Touchdowns Against
And who knows, on those deeper routes, maybe Devin Hester can add another receiving touchdown to the five he's already collected against the Vikings in his career. Don't know what it is, but with the Vikings' secondary, he just outspeeds everyone and catches a deep ball in the end zone. He can't really do it against anyone else, but against the Vikings, I'm not sure what brings it out of him. Maybe he hates purple, in which case, the Illini really could have used him against Northwestern today.
5) Resume Grabbing Turnovers
The Vikings, prior to last week's game, gave up two turnovers in each of the prior five games. The Bears got zero takeaways on Monday, for the first time all year. Something has to give-- Oh wait, wrong axiom. Something has to... um... return to form, yeah. Plus, the Bears are winless when they don't get takeaways. (/extra-inflated stats)
6) Play. Better.
I stand by my statement on Tuesday (which, why didn't I get more "Meatball!"-ism?! Probably cause I didn't demand coach-firing or anything...). Team, you're better than you were on Monday. I don't expect a fifty-point blowout, I don't expect a shutout with three interceptions for touchdowns. But you know how the Niners tied the Rams, then came out and gave you the fury of tying the Rams? You need to give the Vikings the fury of getting blown out on national television.