Vikings (0-1) at Bears (1-0)
Vikings depth chart: http://www.ourlads.com/nfldepthcharts/depthchart/MIN
Bears depth chart: http://www.ourlads.com/nfldepthcharts/depthchart/CHI
Coming off of a statement win against the Bengals in their opener, the Bears are looking to continue the momentum at home against the Vikings.
Minnesota, who has the best running back in the league in Adrian Peterson, is still looking for that quarterback that can put them over the hump. They thought they had a keeper with Christian Ponder after last season’s solid performance, but Ponder threw three interceptions last week against a weak Lions secondary. Facing the Bears secondary this week will be an even tougher challenge, especially when added in that his receivers aren’t the strongest. If Minnesota wants to win, it is vital that Ponder has a good game and limits his interceptions. The offensive line of Minnesota is good but not great. They will be up against a Bears defense who struggled to generate any pass rush against Andy Dalton and the Bengals, in part because of how quick Dalton got rid of the ball. Led by Matt Kalil, the Vikings offensive line is imperative to their success in this game because if they can shut down Julius Peppers and company, they will be able to open up holes for Peterson and give Ponder plenty of time in the pocket.
Minnesota brings out an average defense, one that let up 34 points last week to the Lions. The Vikings will be matching up against an offense that made great second half adjustments last week and has multiple impact players. Their 4-3 defense features a very good defensive line that is headlined by Kevin Williams and Jared Allen. Also, Chad Greenway has long been solid at the middle linebacker position. Williams, Allen and even Greenway should pose a challenge to the Bears defensive line. The secondary of the Vikings lacks the star power that the front 7 does, but Harrison Smith and Chris Cook are both coming into their own in the NFL. The Vikings will need to limit the Bears on offense, because if the Bears do anything like what the Lions did against them last week, the Vikings will fall to 0-2.
The aforementioned fact that the Bears were able to make many key adjustments last game should also help them in this game. They face a decent but not great defense and with weapons such as Brandon Marshall and Martellus Bennett, Jay Cutler may be able to have a field day against the Vikings. Matt Forte is looking to improve after struggling in the opener, but will need the offensive line to perform. All five of the Bears offensive linemen are key in this game. They were very good against Cincinnati, especially in the second half, but rookies Kyle Long and Jordan Mills on the right side will need to have another good game. They have proved thus far that they should stay as starters and a big game from them will help both Cutler and Forte.
A defense that generated little to no pass rush last game will more than likely rely on turnovers again. The Bears forced three last week against Cincinnati, including two interceptions by Charles Tillman. Ponder, who isn’t the most accurate QB in the NFL, could make some mistakes and the Bears have the perfect secondary to take advantage of those. If the D can contain the pass reasonably well and hold Peterson under 100 yards, they should be able to win this one without much trouble.