coleryan Posts:11960 Followers:18
On 09/09/2013 12:10 PM in NFL

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears: Preview and Pick

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears: Preview and Pick

The second week of the National Football League features plenty of great divisional battles and one of those match ups that will highlight the schedule is the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears.

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears Odds

The NFL betting line for this game opened up with the Bears listed as (5.5) point favorites over the winless Vikings. After the impressive win over the Cincinnati Bengals, you would think the Bears would get some attention from the betting public but that is not the case. The public is leaning towards the Vikings as 54 percent of the early action is on the road team. Besides the public push on the Vikings this line can be found at (6.5) at several top rated online sportsbooks.

The Vikings are powered by the strong running of Adrian Peterson. Peterson showed why he was a Most Valuable Player against the Detroit Lions in week one, when he broke a big play on the first carry from the line of scrimmage. Peterson broke a 78 yard touchdown run and it looked like his prediction to gain 2500 yards is on pace. However he struggled after that against the Lions stout front line and Peterson failed to get over 100 yards on the day. The defense of the Bears will look to bottle up the explosive runner in week two.

The Bears had an impressive come from behind win against the Bengals in week one. Quarterback Jay Cutler looked poised in the pocket and did not panic in the victory. New head coach Marc Trestman made the needed adjustments and the Bears looked great in the victory. Most importantly may have been the fact that Cutler was not sacked. This is a huge improvement for a suspect offensive line against a tough front of the Bengals.

The NFL betting trends reveal some great betting angles for this divisional tilt. Minnesota is 0-5 in its last five games when playing on the road against Chicago and 2-6 against the spread (ATS) in its last 8 games on the road. The total has gone over in 5 of Chicago's last 7 games when playing at home against Minnesota and Chicago is 1-4-2 ATS in its last 7 games at home.
The Bears will focus on Peterson in this game and if the Vikings cannot help him with a passing game, it could be a long day for the Vikings.

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

coleryan Posts:11960 Followers:18
09/10/2013 05:11 PM

The Vikings have the unenviable task of opening on the road against NFC North foes in consecutive weeks, coming to Soldier Field on the heels of an ugly 34-24 loss at Detroit. Quarterback Christian Ponder was especially bad at Ford Field, throwing three interceptions and losing a fumble, and running back Adrian Peterson totaled only 93 yards after motoring for a 78-yard touchdown on his first carry. The Lions loaded the box with eight defenders to stop Peterson, and the Vikings' problem — as it was much of last season — was Ponder could not throw them out of the loaded front.

Minnesota added a badly needed weapon for Ponder by signing Greg Jennings in free agency, but he made just three catches for 33 yards. Opponents are going to pay far more attention to Peterson until they are burned.

The usually stout Vikings defense was gashed for 469 yards — 191 by new Lions running back Reggie Bush. Minnesota was without veteran defensive tackle Kevin Williams, but the expectation is he will return from a hyperextended knee this week.

Key stat: The Bears had defended Peterson well — not allowing him a 100-yard game in four meetings from 2009 through 2011 – before he rushed for 108 and 154 yards in the two games last season.

Key matchup: Vikings right end Jared Allen vs. Bears left tackle Jermon Bushrod. The Bears held Allen without a sack last season after he notched 4½ vs. J'Marcus Webb the year before. With a high-paid blind-side protector, Allen shouldn't be as great of a factor.

coleryan Posts:11960 Followers:18
09/11/2013 04:37 PM

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier has watched a lot of film on the Bears' offense since he started with the organization as a defensive coordinator in 2007. And when he analyzed the newest edition from the Bears' 24-21 win over the Bengals last Sunday, one element in particular stood out about coach Marc Trestman's team.

"It seems like their offensive line is much improved," said Frazier, who became Vikings coach during the 2010 season. "They did a good job of protecting the quarterback. They played together very well. Jay (Cutler) played with a lot of confidence in the pocket. Nice throws, and they worked a lot from the pocket early in that ballgame. But probably the offensive line play is what stood out to me."

The Bears will take the compliment. Their overhauled line featured four new starters Sunday, including rookie right guard Kyle Long and rookie right tackle Jordan Mills.

Cutler was not sacked, a feat the offense accomplished in only two games last season. The Vikings had one sack in their first game against the Bears last year and two in the second.

Frazier sees a limit to how much his experience coaching against the Bears defense can help him this Sunday. Trestman's new scheme includes new personnel, so Frazier must study a small sample size from the preseason and Week 1.

"There’s so much more, I’m sure, in Week 7 or 8 that you’ll glean from their offense than what they showed in the first ballgame," Frazier said. "So you get an idea of their personnel and a little bit of what they’re thinking, but I don’t know if you can hang your hat on everything that you saw. I’m sure there are going to be some tweaks based on our defense versus Cincinnati’s, so that preseason snapshot, along with that one game, I don’t know if you can just say that’s their offense."

coleryan Posts:11960 Followers:18
09/12/2013 03:01 PM

One game is never a good sample size for drawing conclusions. There's that anomaly thing, that freak-of-nature thing. There's that DeMarco Murray thing; he ran for 253 yards in one game in 2011 and has only three 100-plus yard games since then.

One game, especially after Week 1 in the NFL, means nothing. Not when it comes to surveying the future. It's what makes sportswriters, columnists and analysts backtrack and look at what we wrote and said and wonder how in the hell we were even hired in the first place.

Sometimes one game is all we need to draw an intellectual conclusion.

Take the Bears' Week 1 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Take (despite the yardage given up on long drives) the defense not seeming to miss Brian Urlacher's presence or Julius Peppers' play. Take the Bengals' mental breakdowns and Marc Trestman's demeanor as the reasons for the victory. Take Alshon Jeffery.

Yeah, that other guy, the guy eclipsed by Brandon Marshall's radiation and two guys named Bennett. The rookie from last season who was injured and missed six games, and was inconsistent when he did play. The one who oftentimes had Bears fans screaming at their televisions, the one who is theoretically No. 4 or 5 on the team's depth chart when it comes to options for Cutler.

Alshon, let's take him. Let's take his Week 1 as that sample that may be the single most important one-game conclusion that we can arrive at to determine the outcome of the rest of the Bears' entire season.

For weeks leading up to the season opener, all of the talk/concern surrounding the Bears seemed to be about ball distribution and how Jay Cutler playing "catch" with Marshall was going to be the downfall of the team's offense. Jeffery's five catches in Week 1 equaled the most he's had in his 11-game NFL career, but the eight times (the most in his career) he was targeted by Cutler versus Cincy tell the more comprehensive story of what could be the foreshadowing of things to come.

Is Jeffery going to be this season's Tim Jennings? A player who lives beyond expectations but up to his potential to perfectly complement the All-Pro Marshall the way Jennings now complements all-world CB Charles "Peanut" Tillman?

Without getting too far ahead of ourselves, the answer is yes. Jeffery is about to be the player defenses and defensive coordinators are going to sleep on and wait too long to focus on because they will be holding out from week to week to see if he's for real.

Opposing coaches will say: Sooner or later the Bears are going to go back to getting Marshall double-digit looks, so let's stick with our scheme in just trying to contain him. We'd rather have Jeffery beat us than have Marshall kill us.

Then they will look up and notice how Jeffery's six-catch, 64-yard games have become the norm and how his numbers are always the constant -- along with Martellus Bennett's at tight end and the accuracy of Robbie Gould -- in tipping the scales for why the Bears keep pulling out so many three- and seven-point victories.

It's all about to add up. The Alshon algorithm. And by the time the rest of the NFL (or the NFC North) figures out what's real, Jeffery will be in a comfort zone that only Darrelle Revis can take him out of.

Jeffery could be to the Bears what Anquan Boldin will be to the 49ers once Michael Crabtree returns. Jeffery could be the receiver who, because he'll be so often in single coverage, makes it impossible for defenses to take any plays off. Not the difference-maker, but the difference-maker's difference-maker.

coleryan Posts:11960 Followers:18
09/13/2013 05:31 PM

Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams should be "ready to go" on Sunday when the team plays the Chicago Bears, coach Leslie Frazier said Friday.

The six-time Pro Bowler missed the Vikings' season-opening loss at Detroit because of a hyperextended right knee suffered on a low block by San Francisco's Joe Looney in Minnesota's third preseason game. It was the first regular-season game Williams missed to injury since 2005.

Williams is listed as probable on the Vikings' injury report, and though he missed practice because of a personal matter Friday, he showed enough in practice Wednesday and Thursday to convince Frazier he's healthy enough to play Sunday against the Bears (1-0).

"We'll have to monitor how he's doing in between series, just talk to him sometimes," Frazier said. "Based on what happened after practice [on Thursday], he was feeling good."


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VIKINGS OFFENSE — OVERALL (19), RUSH (11), PASS (20)

VIKINGS DEFENSE — OVERALL (29), RUSH (24), PASS (29)

BEARS OFFENSE — OVERALL (20), RUSH (17), PASS (19)

BEARS DEFENSE — OVERALL (16), RUSH (6t), PASS (19)

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES —
- Minnesota hasn't won at Soldier Field since 2007.

- Vikings turned over ball four times last week.

- RB Adrian Peterson is 58 yards rushing shy of becoming 32nd player to hit 9,000 mark. He's tied with Ricky Watters for 19th on NFL list with 78 TDs rushing. Peterson ran for 93 yards and two TDs against Detroit last week, although he didn't do much after 78-yard scoring run on first attempt. Peterson ran for 154 yards last time Vikings played Bears and his 224 yards at Soldier Field in 2007 are most by Chicago opponent.

- Christian Ponder threw for 236 yards and TD, but was intercepted three times last week, and lost fumble.

- DE Jared Allen has 13 sacks in 10 games against Bears. He had 3½ in 2011 finale to finish with 22 — just shy of Michael Strahan's record 22½ for New York Giants in 2001. Allen had no sacks against Chicago last season.

coleryan Posts:11960 Followers:18
09/15/2013 08:39 AM

The Vikings struggled against the Lions and will have more trouble against the Bears. AP's run at 2500 hits a serious hurdle here as the Bears win and the win big.


Bears -6.5