The Chicago Bears are on a 9 game losing streak, and I’m starting to wonder if spending half as much money as the rest of the league on active players has put them at a disadvantage. It’s definitely something for the front office to consider moving forward. But moving forward to Sunday, the Bears have their final matchup against the NFC North Champion Minnesota Vikings, and without Justin Fields to will them to offensive competency, it’s not looking promising.
Here’s what Christopher Gates of the Daily Norseman had to say to my questions:
1) It can be fun to taunt other NFC North teams, but until Rodgers is gone, I believe we all ultimately unite in our common enemy in cheese land. It’s rough to get destroyed by the Packers and Bears fans know that better than anyone. How’s morale?
Well, Sunday was rough, to be sure, but at the end of the day the Vikings are still 12-4 and had the NFC North wrapped up a couple of weeks ago. This past Sunday was Green Bay’s Super Bowl for this season, and they certainly played like it. Vikings fans can definitely be “doom and gloom” at the best of times, and so it’s been a little depressing, but the Vikings’ first home playoff game in five years is still coming on Wild Card Weekend. With that, hopefully things will start looking up here before too much longer. Personally, I know that I’m excited to see this team get back to the postseason. The playoff run might not last long. . .then again, who knows. . .but at least there will be one.
2) The Vikings offense sometimes struggles when Kirky and Justin Jefferson aren’t in sync? Do you see the potential for a more multi-dimensional attack against teams that focus on shutting JJ down?
I would certainly hope so, although their ability to do so might be limited. T.J. Hockenson has, for the most part, been very good since the Vikings acquired him at the trade deadline, but some of the other potential weapons don’t seem to be operating at full strength. Adam Thielen has been a great Viking over the past few years, but he’s really struggled this season, and Dalvin Cook seems to be slowing down a bit, too, although he’s had his moments as well. I’m sure that people will say the Vikings have been “exposed,” but we’ll see if that’s actually the case or not.
3) How’s the Vikings run defense looking? If the Bears are going to move the ball at all, it will have to be on the ground.
The run defense, though it has improved from earlier in the season, still has a lot of times where they give up yards in chunks. I’m guessing this has a lot to do with the defense running a scheme that they have nowhere near the personnel to pull off effectively yet, as the Vikings are still trying to work mostly 4-3 personnel into a 3-4 scheme. We’ve seen some improvement and some new faces getting some playing time, most notably rookie LB Brian Asamoah and former Bears’ DL Khyiris Tonga, but it still has a long ways to go. Not having to deal with Justin Fields will, obviously, help the run defense a lot in this one, but for the long-term it’s still a work in progress.
4) Do you follow the draft closely? If the Bears lose and the Texans win, who should we take with the first overall pick?
If I’m the Bears and I wind up with the #1 pick in this year’s NFL Draft, it means that Houston is at #2. The Bears don’t need a quarterback, but Houston certainly does and so do a lot of other NFL teams. So, if I’m Ryan Poles, I’m basically auctioning off that pick to the highest bidder because someone’s going to want to get ahead of Houston for their quarterback of choice, whether it’s C.J. Stroud or Bryce Young or whoever it might be. If, for some reason, the Bears don’t execute that strategy, I think I would take Alabama edge Will Anderson. He seems like he could have the most immediate impact on Chicago’s defense.
5) Do you think the Vikings beat the spread?
You would think the combination of the Bears starting Nathan Peterman at quarterback and being angry about getting embarrassed last week and other things would be a recipe for the Vikings winning big. However, the combination of heading to Soldier Field, where the Vikings don’t usually get a great amount of luck, and the potential for resting key personnel points to things potentially being close, too. As we’ve seen numerous times this season, this Vikings team really doesn’t blow anybody out, so in what might be a bit of an upset I’m going to say that the Vikings win but the Bears cover the number.
It sounds like the Vikings confidence is not at an all-time high. Maybe the Bears can take advantage of Minnesota’s insecurities, Nathan Peterman will throw some balls that bounce off of defenders into Bear receiver’s hands, and the Bears will win their way into the 4th overall pick!
If you want to bet on it, as always, our friends over at DraftKings Sportsbook have you covered for this game and all the week’s NFL action.