The meeting will be the 103rd ever between the two NFC North rivals. The Bears trail the all-time series 48-52-2.
The Bears swept the season series against the Vikings last season and haven’t allowed them to win at Soldier Field since 2008.
The Bears are coming off an ugly 32-7 loss to the 49ers on Monday night. Nothing went right for them on either side of the ball. The good news is Jay Cutler will be under center on Sunday.
LG Chilo Rachal was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list this week, so he is done for the season. Veteran Chris Spencer will take his spot in the starting lineup.
Jonathan Scott is expected to see time either for J’Marcus Webb or Gabe Carimi. Both tackles have struggled mightily the past couple of weeks.
The Vikings were on a bye last week. The week earlier they defeated the Lions 34-24 at home.
Both the Bears and Vikings are sitting behind the Green Bay Packers (7-3) for the division lead. This a big game for both teams. The Bears meet Minnesota again in Week 14, so this could decide a lot of things going forward.
The Bears’ defense allows 16.5 ppg which ranks fourth in the league, while its offense ranks 11th in the league with 24.9 ppg.
The Vikings’ defense allows 22.1 ppg which ranks 13th in the league, while its offense ranks 15th in the league with 23.8 ppg.
Bears rookie WR Alshon Jeffery returned last week after fully healing from a hand injury, but he suffered a knee injury last Monday night and is expected to be out two to four weeks. He didn’t practice all week and has been ruled out.
QB Jay Cutler (concussion) is visiting a neurologist today, so we should know if he will able to start on Sunday sometime later today.
TE Kellen Davis (ankle) didn’t practice Wednesday and Thursday, but was able to practice on a limited basis on Friday. He is considered questionable.
QB Jason Campbell (ribs) and WR Brandon Marshall (ribs) were limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday but practiced fully on Friday. Rookie defensive end Shea McClellin (concussion) practiced fully all week after missing last week’s game.
Vikings WR Percy Harvin (ankle) did not practice all week and is considered doubtful for this game.
DT Letroy Guion (foot) was limited all week, while G Charlie Johnson (toe) was limited on Friday after not practicing the days prior. Both are considered questionable.
The Bears will win if?
The Bears will win if they can get a consistent pass rush on defense. Ponder doesn’t have Percy Harvin this week, so the Vikings will be looking to run more often, which could help the Bears’ defense be more sound on the back end. The Bears’ offense has tried to establish the run game on offense as of late but the running lanes haven’t been there. They need to get Forte going early in this game if they want to come away with the win.
The Bears will lose if?
The Bears will lose if they simply lose focus. They lost focus last week and they got blown out because of it. The Vikings will be looking to get defensive end Jared Allen to abuse left tackle J’Marcus Webb. It won’t be easy against a solid Vikings defense and a Vikings offense that brings the NFL’s leading rusher in Adrian Peterson to Soldier Field. Both teams know the importance of this game, so it should be a battle all afternoon long.
Players who must step up:
1. Israel Idonije- He has 4.5 sacks on the season, which is 0.5 less than his 2011 total. Over the past four weeks, he has 13 tackles and 1.0 sack during that span. He is a solid end, but he needs to step up on Sunday because the past few weeks the Bears pass rush has been non-existent.
Prediction: Four tackles, 1.0 sack.
2. Matt Forte- He is averaging just 71.2 ypg rushing and 20 ypg receiving this season. He has rushed for 102 yards over the past two weeks. He needs to get going early and often on Sunday because the Bears really pride themselves on running the ball. Look for him to have a big day against the Vikings’ defense.
Prediction: 20 carries, 102 yards. Four receptions, 25 yards, one touchdown.
3. Earl Bennett- He has 18 receptions on 36 targets for 193 yards this season. He has nine receptions for 84 yards over the past four weeks. He certainly needs to become involved in the passing game now that Alshon Jeffery is out again. Expect to see him in the mix more often since Jay Cutler is under center.
Prediction: Four receptions, 43 yards.
Jake Perper: Chicago Bears 23, Minnesota Vikings 17.
Matt Eurich: Chicago Bears 27, Minnesota Vikings 10.
Qwikcast.com Weather Report:
Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 40s. West winds 10 to 15 mph.