Through the first three weeks of the NFL season, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is without a doubt a candidate for league MVP. The Vikings offense runs through #33 as he leads the league in rushing yards (375). This week the Vikings offense will face arguably it’s toughest task of the season as they travel to Soldier Field to face the Chicago Bears—a defense led by Pro Bowlers like Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Kyle Fuller, and Eddie Jackson.
This game may come down to the quarterback play, though. Both, Kirk Cousins and Mitchell Trubisky both looked better in week 3 after starting off the season with shaky starts. Both quarterbacks will face top 5 defenses on Sunday and this game may come down to who can make less mistakes. The Bears have the edge in this category with home-field advantage, but i’ll never rule out a Zimmer-led defense against a QB who’s flaws are spotlighted when pressure is dialed up.
Three Keys to Victory
- Win the turnover battle: I don’t think it’s a secret that the team that wins the turnover battle in this game is most likely to leave victorious when the clock hits zero. Making sure you capitalize off of turnovers with shorter fields is key in a matchup with two elite defenses like Chicago and Minnesota. The Vikings have the edge in this category, in my opinion because of their rushing attack led by Dalvin Cook. If Cousins can just do his job and take care of the football, the Vikings should win this battle.
- Don’t fix what doesn’t need fixing: The Bears have a very good rush defense but that shouldn’t stop you from feeding the Cook. No one has been able to stop Dalvin Cook yet and until someone does, your plan of attack shouldn’t change. Luckily, if someone does manage to stop Dalvin Cook, you have guys like Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs to take some of that pressure off. Stefanski’s play-calling will play a crucial role this week.
- Linebacker play: Mitchell Trubisky isn’t an elite arm talent but what he does possess is excellent mobility. The Vikings defensive line will do what they always do and bring pressure but Trubisky has always done a great job of eluding pressure and making plays with his feet. If the Vikings defense doesn’t spy Trubisky they could find themselves having a hard time getting off the field on third downs. Oh….and that Tarik Cohen guy is always a nightmare for our linebackers too…
Chicago Bears Offensive & Defensive Rankings
- Total Offense: 29th (275 YPG)
- Passing: 29th (178 YPG)
- Rushing: 21st (96 YPG)
- Offensive Line: 21st (8 Sacks & 16 QB Hits Allowed)
- Total Defense: 8th (313 YPG)
- Pass Defense: 14th (245 YPG)
- Rush Defense: 5th (68 YPG)
- Pass Rush Efficiency: 5th
Chicago Bears Offense
Chicago Bears Defense
Scouting the Opponent with Jacob Infante (Windy City Gridiron)
*You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @jacobinfante24 or visit his work at @WCGridiron.
- What do the Bears need to do offensively this week to ensure they put up points consistently on offense? “With the Vikings’ defensive front, the Bears are going to need to get the ball out of Mitchell Trubisky’s hands quickly. Much like they did against the Broncos, scheming quick passes that don’t require him to think much is the best way to go at this point. Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen could give Chicago a tough time this week, so making sure they get the ball thrown quickly could help neutralize that.”
- Which player not named Mitchell Trubisky needs to have a big game this week? “In terms of players who will need to have a big game for the Bears’ success, Allen Robinson comes to mind. The big-bodied target has 17 receptions for 203 yards in three games, and he has been a legitimate No. 1 receiver for their offense. In terms of players who need a big game to bounce back, though, Anthony Miller fits the bill. One of the Bears’ second-round picks in 2018, Miller only has two catches for 17 yards this season and has looked lost so far this year.”
- Which player labeled “questionable” with injury for this game will be a bigger loss if they don’t play? Kyle Long or Akiem Hicks? “Akiem Hicks, for sure. Kyle Long has played at a poor level this season anyway, and it appears that his best days are behind him. Hicks is still at the top of his game and is a cornerstone of the Bears’ defense. If they want to slow down Dalvin Cook, not having Hicks would be incredibly detrimental to them.”
- Which matchup are you most looking forward to watching in this game? “I’m looking forward to seeing Stefon Diggs against Kyle Fuller. Fuller hasn’t been very consistent in coverage to start the season, but he has intercepted two passes in three games. Giving him a top-end receiver like Diggs could be a very good test for the 2018 All-Pro.”
- Give me one Bears prediction, one Vikings prediction, and a final score prediction.
- Bears Prediction: “Mitchell Trubisky finishes with a completion percentage of below 60 percent, but Khalil Mack gets two sacks.”
- Vikings Prediction: “Kirk Cousins gets sacked four times and throws two interceptions, but he throws for over 275 yards.”
- Final Score Prediction: “Vikings-20 Bears-17”
- Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky is 2-2 in his career against the Vikings (1-1 at home). In those starts he’s thrown for 158 YPG, 2 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, and a 69.2 QB Rating.
- Vikings QB Kirk Cousins is 2-2 in his career against the Bears (2-1 in Chicago). In those starts he’s thrown for 241 YPG, 5 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, and a 91 QB Rating.
- The Vikings trail the Bears 54-60-2 in the all-time series. The Vikings are 23-32-2 in Chicago.
- Kirk Cousins needs 8 passing yards to pass Joe Kapp on the Vikings all-time passing list.
- Dalvin Cook needs 75 rushing yards to pass Latavius Murray on the Vikings all-time rushing list.
- Kyle Rudolph needs 4 receptions to pass Sammy White for 7th place on the Vikings all-time receptions list.
- Harrison Smith needs 1 interception to pass Antoine Winfield for 8th place on the Vikings all-time interceptions list.
- Harrison Smith needs 8 tackles to reach 600 total tackles for his career.
- Head Coach Mike Zimmer needs 1 win to reach 50 career wins.
*For all the latest Vikings news and updates, you can follow me on Twitter at —> @Purple_Post. #SKOL