The Bears face a familiar foe this Sunday. Normally I would feel confident that our Beloved beasties would resoundingly ravage Kirk Cousins and company, but after last week’s loss to the quarterbackless Giants, anything feels possible. Luckily, I don’t have to know what to think because I had the opportunity ask Christopher Gates of the Daily Norseman what he thinks.
1) It’s impossible for Bears fans not to peer westward on occasion and pine for the quality of receivers you’ve been accustomed to in Minnesota. What’s going on with Justin Jefferson this season? Specifically, what was different against Green Bay and New Orleans that made him explode compared to his relatively quiet games against Detroit and Philadelphia? Which version do you expect the Bears will see?
In the opener, the Packers tried a revolutionary idea that we call “Let’s just not cover Justin Jefferson and see if Kirk Cousins notices.” (He did notice.) Then, Philadelphia and Detroit seemed to make a pretty concerted effort to take Jefferson away. The Vikings didn’t adjust against Philly, as evidenced by Cousins’ three interceptions, but they did start getting other players involved against Detroit, and that carried over to the Saints game this past weekend. Jefferson will get his, but Cousins has to be more willing to come off of him if he’s the first read and start making use of more of his teammates. If he does that, I think Jefferson will still have a big game because the Bears won’t be able to devote a ton of attention to him in the hopes of shutting him down.
2) The Vikings and the Bears both hired new GMs this off-season. How has the Adofo-Mensah experience going in its first year? How did Vikings fans feel about trading back with the Lions to miss out on some premiere available talent and then draft a safety who is clearly worse than Bears 2nd round pick Jaquan Brisker?
I think the Kwesi Adofo-Mensah experience has been pretty good so far and that it’s only going to get better. For guys like Adofo-Mensah, and Ryan Poles in Chicago, they had to go through the initial parts of their first season, including the draft, with a staff that they weren’t necessarily in tune with. After the draft, the Vikings let a bunch of people go so that Kwesi could bring in guys he wanted on the scouting staff, so I’m interested to see how that changes things next season and beyond. As far as the draft is concerned, the deal with Detroit doesn’t worry me that much. Adofo-Mensah got what he thought was good value and a guy he wanted to take at a spot he felt comfortable taking him at. Of course, now that Lewis Cine is out for the year and his career is (potentially) in jeopardy because of the injury he suffered against New Orleans, it looks a bit worse in retrospect, but the draft doesn’t work like that, unfortunately.
3) How’s the Kevin O’Connell experience going so far? Is his absence the reason the Rams are struggling?
I don’t know if his absence is the entire reason the Rams are struggling. . .they had some other losses as well, notably Andrew Whitworth. The main thing we heard about Kevin O’Connell when the Vikings hired him was all about how he never called plays with the Rams because that was Sean McVay’s job. He was, however, instrumental in working with Matthew Stafford and helping to install game plans on game day, and that sort of experience can be every bit as valuable as play calling. After all, Zac Taylor never called plays during his time with the Rams (and was never even the offensive coordinator), but he managed to have the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl last season thanks to having a pretty darn good quarterback at his disposal. I like what I’ve seen from Kevin O’Connell so far, and he’s still young and pliable enough that he can learn to fix the things that have given him issues to this point.
4) The Vikings have given up 24 or more points the last three games (they only gave up 7 to the Packers which was fun to watch, thanks for that). The Bears have scored less than 24 points every game this season. Which trend continues?
I have a feeling that this is going to be a relatively low-scoring game, to be honest. The Bears, for whatever reason, almost always seem to give the Vikings offense problems, and the Bears obviously aren’t lighting up the scoreboard to this point either. I don’t know if the Bears are going to get to 24 points in this one, quite frankly, so I’ll go with that trend continuing on Sunday afternoon.
5) The Vikings are currently 7.5 point favorites at DraftKings. That’s more than a touchdown. Kind of rude, right?
I think I can sort of agree with that. Until the Vikings can show some more consistency on both sides of the ball, I’m not sure if they deserve to be a touchdown favorite over anybody. They entered the Detroit game favored by about the same margin, and I said the same thing about that game, too. There always seem to be weird things that happen during games between these two teams. . .more often than not the weirdness is reserved for Soldier Field, but maybe it will carry over to U.S. Bank Stadium now that we’re playing here in October and not in Week 17/18. I think the Vikings win this one, but it’s probably going to be just as uncomfortably close as most other Vikings games end up being.
Sounds like the Vikings new regime is still figuring things out. Maybe the Bears can catch them off guard. Perhaps with a run in a third-and-thirty type situation?
As always, if you also think this will be a low scoring game or that the Bears can cover the insulting spread, our friends over at DraftKings Sportsbook have you covered for this game and all the week’s NFL action.