The Chicago Bears will enter the game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday without two of their best defensive players in Brian Urlacher and Tim Jennings. The Bears will need exceptional performances out of the rest of the defense if they hope to avoid a repeat of last week, when they allowed consecutive touchdown drives to lose the game.
The absence of Urlacher will be felt the most by Chicago because when he is on the field it’s like having an extra coach out there. He is able to match wits with any quarterback and adjust the defense according to the formation that the offense lines up in. Nick Roach will fill in at middle linebacker, which is not a huge step down as far as physical performance is concerned, however he will have to become more of a vocal leader on the field in order to keep the rest of the defense playing up to par.
What the Bears do have going for them on the defensive side of the ball is that they still have Lance Briggs, Julius Peppers and Charles Tillman to lead the way. With Percy Harvin, the Vikings most explosive wide receiver out for the game there should not be much trouble for Charles Tillman and company to shut down Christian Ponder and the Minnesota passing attack.
What the Chicago Bears have to worry about on defense is the leading rusher in the NFL, Adrian Peterson. Peterson has shown defenses time and time again this year that he is indeed back and better than ever. If the Bears defense is not on their toes every single play, Peterson will make them pay in a big way. The Bears should consider it a good performance if they hold Peterson around 100 rushing yards on the day assuming they don’t get lit up through the air.
As for the other side of the ball, Jay Cutler and the offense should use the blueprint from their win two weeks ago against Minnesota and implement a very similar game plan. In the last meeting they were able to move the ball effectively the entire game, mostly courtesy of laser beam throws from the right arm of Jay Cutler. If the Bears makeshift offensive line can keep Cutler on his feet for the most part, and he plays like he has in the past few games, the Bears should be able to put up points at will on Sunday.
Coming off of a devastating overtime loss last week against Seattle, the Bears will need to channel all of their frustrations into their performance this Sunday in order to avoid a repeat performance. It won’t be easy to come away with a win in Minnesota, especially since their playoff hopes hinge on the outcome of the game Sunday. But if the Bears come in and stay focused on their game-plan, they should be able to capture their ninth win of the season.