Friday, October 12, 2007

Vikings v Bears Kool-Aided Preview (wk 6)

Denny Green is priceless, nobody can deny that. But I can't help but agree. The Bears are who we thought they were. And I think they are showing that this year. Before we get into the actual preview please enjoy this remix...

Seriously though the 2006 Bears were living on that razor thin edge of making exactly 1 monster play to win the game in spite of their QB making the plays to lose them the game.

Grossman in 2006

  • @ Min - threw 2 picks including 1 for a TD. But defense makes a huge play late in the game to give the offense a final chance to win the game
  • @ AZ - threw 4 picks but defense and special teams score 3 straight TDs to win the game
  • vs. Min - throws 3 picks but defense scores 16 to win the game
All 3 games were wins in spite of your starting QB. And the team's 3 losses were all a direct result of Rexi and his poor play (all had 3 games he threw 3 INTs).

Flash forward to 2007, this has finally caught up with them. Injuries to the defense, a lack of a strong running game and awful QB play has led the defending NFC Champs to a 2-3 record. Rexi has been benched and Griese has given mixed results through 2 games.

Of course the Vikings have their own set of issues, ESPECIALLY at QB. This makes for an interesting matchup and will likely be a very ugly game.

Here are the Keys to a Viking Victory...

1. Cover the Tight Ends - I know this is not a sexy key matchup but I think it is huge. The Bears have not shown a strong running game all year. Griese has not shown an ability to throw the ball downfield (and he has 4 INTs in 2 games). Statistical examples?...
    • Muhammad + Berrian = 2 catches vs. Green Bay
    • Greg Olson + Desmond Clark = 7 catches and 2 TDs vs. Green Bay
    • Cedric Benson is averaging 60 yards per game (50.5 if you take out KC)
    • Chicago Rushing offense = 27th in the league vs. Min's #1 rushing defense
Cedric Benson does not worry me. Griese loves the check down so his wideouts aren't as scary either. But EJ Henderson and the safetys have to cover the TEs and not let them beat us in the middle of the field.

2. Run the Ball with the Pass - The Bears started the year strong against the run, but recently they have been more succeptable. I think eventually we'll be able to establish some semblance of a running game. With that said, there is no doubt that the Bears will be keying on the run each and every play and the Vikings struggle (mightily) to pass the ball. I'm not asking for this zebra to change his stripes, I don't expect Jackson or Holcomb to rack up 300 yards of passing to the receivers.

What I want to see are screens and swing passes to Peterson and let him get out in space and make guys miss. Play Action then hit the back when he clears. Short passes that are essentially runs will be more effective than trying to run the ball down the throat of this Bear defense. We have been unable to dominate the line of scrimmage in any game this year and I don't expect that to change against this D. But short/quick passes will hide our lack of a real passing game and hide Bryant McKinnie's inability to pass block.

3. Don't let their Special Teams win the game - We don't have to win the special team's battle but just have to be relatively even. If Hester is able to return one for 6 or consistently put their anemic offense 20 yards closer to a FG then Minnesota will struggle to keep up in the battle for 3 points. Kick it out of bounds if you have to but don't let Hester win this game for them. He has done it before and is capable of it every week.

Fearless Prediction...

Vikings win 18-16 and here is how it ends.

Longwell lines up for the game winning 37 yd FG. Right before the snap Lovie calls a timeout to rattle the Vikings kicker. Longwell actually misses that FG but gets a 2nd chance because of Lovie's timeout. Ryan nails the 2nd attempt and Minnesota wins.

No comments:

Kool Aid Drinkers