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Game 9 Preview: Minnesota Favres @ Chicago Bears

The Favres are 3-5 this season.  The Bears are 5-3.  This could be a nail in the coffin, for either team, depending on the outcome.  In the race for 10 wins and a place in the playoffs, falling to 3-6 for the Favres will almost certainly knock them out of the race.  If the Bears lose, and fall to 5-4, winning 5 games down the stretch against their tough schedule becomes a long shot.  In mid-November, a playoff game, this is.

Quick Numbers:

446:  Career high in passing yards for the Favres starting QB.

8:  Number of consecutive road losses for the Favres, including last season's NFC Championship game and Week 16 game in Chicago.

84.1:  Jay Cutler's passer rating this season.

75.7:  The Favres starting QB passer rating this season.

20:  Number of fumbles recovered by the Bears; tops in the NFL.

6:  Number of fumbles by Adrian Peterson in 2009.

ZERO:  Number of fumbles by Adrian Peterson in 2010...let's change that this Sunday, shall we?


Key Injuries:


MF's Starting QB - Ankle/Calf/Foot - Did Not Participate  (no way this guy doesn't play though.)

Percy Harvin - Ankle/Migraine - Did Not Participate (ditto)

Asher Allen (CB) - Concussion - Did Not Participate

Phil Loadholt (RT) - Knee - Limited Participation



Olin Kreutz - hamstring - Did Not Participate (will definitely play Sunday)

Zackary Bowman - foot - Limited Participation (who knows when he'll play again.)


When Minnesota Has the Ball:

The Favres have a balanced attack on offense.  Their starting QB threw for 446 yards last week.  Adrian Peterson is the best RB in the NFL and is 2nd in yards this season with a 4.8 ypc & 7 touchdowns.  Look for the Favres to pound the rock and try and victimize the Bears secondary off of play action.  The Favres offensive line has allowed 18 sacks this season (20th in NFL), so if Izzy and Peppers can play well, they should be able to lay some licks on the Favres starting QB.  Julius Peppers likes to play against Bryant McKinnie (see at 5:35 on this video)


This game should be one of the biggest tests for the Bears defense. 

Key Matchup: Tim Jennings & D.J. Moore vs. Percy Harvin.  If Charles Tillman is on Harvin, the Bears are toast.  Jennings will have to cover him for the Bears to have any success.  In nickel situations, Moore might be on Harvin, since he is used in the slot a lot.  When Harvin catches the ball, he needs to be brought to the ground immediately.  You can not let him get his legs out in the open field; he will kill you that way.

X-Factor: Sidney Rice is back off the PUP list after hip surgery.  Will he play, and how effective will he be?


When Chicago Has the Ball:

The Bears offense found some balance last week.  The Favres have the 5th ranked defense in the NFL; 10th vs. the pass & 7th vs. the run.  Whether by air or land, moving the ball against these guys will be tough.  Patience will be needed.  Early struggles could lead to Martz getting pass wacky, and Cutler into taking too many chances.  If there's a week for the Bears offensive line, receivers, and Jay to break out, this is it. 

Key Matchup:  Jared Allen vs. Frank Omiyale.  Allen came alive last week with 2.5 sacks vs. Arizona.  In week 16 last season, Chris Williams did a great job on Allen.  Will Omiyale have similar success?  He needs to or Jay will get another up-close and personal introduction to the loose turf at Soldier Field.

X-Factor:  How many times do I have to say it, but Devin Hester's ability to take a punt to the house could change the entire game.  Good field position is necessary for the Bears to score points; they need a short field.  They could also use the points if Hester gets in the end zone.