ACL’s Week 6 Matchup Preview: Vikings @ Bears

A rare Jay Cutler standing in the pocket sighting

This week I am going to channel my inner-Bill Belichick and tell you that I’m not here to talk about the past. This week, we’re focused on the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings come into town for a Sunday night game against a Bears team that is in total disarray. The Vikings have been the laughing stock of the NFC North this year, but honestly, they’ve been playing more consistently on both sides of the ball than the Bears have. Let’s be honest, any time you have a legit threat to score every single time he touches the ball guy like Adrian Peterson, you’re in the game. McNabb is slowly creeping into “form”, if you want to call it that, having started off looking like a black “Bad Rex” Grossman the first few weeks of the season. The Vikings defensive line is looking fairly ferocious, with Mr. “I used to have a Mullet, no really, I did” Jared Allen doing his gawd-awful rope ’em cowboy sack celebration several times a game. No, really. Jared Allen is super relevant this year, he’s already at 8.5 sacks. That is damned impressive, especially since I believed he was washed up and one season away from being cut.

Other than AP and Allen, the Vikings are a mess. Yeah, they have Harvin. Yup, they have McNabb, too. Heck, they even have a couple former Bears, in Devin “hmm, that air freshener makes the house smell nice” Aromashodu and Bernard “BTwice” Berrian. But seriously, the Vikings are two players right now, Peterson and Allen.

If I were the Bears head coach, here’s what I’d do to game plan for the Vikings:

On Defense

First and foremost, you’ve simply got to stop the run. At this point in his career, and definitely this season, McNabb isn’t going to beat you with his arm or his feet, so sell out and stop the run. That means 8 in the box, hitting your gaps, safeties coming up at times to shut down AP.

Don’t let the wide receivers, especially Aromashodu and Harvin get behind you. I said it last week, I’ll say it again this week: you cannot let the wide receivers get past the safeties. Even McNabb can hit a running free wide receiver in stride.

Get pressure on McNabb. At this point in his career, McNabb can’t run worth a damn, and isn’t a very good passer. So, force him to run, and make him hurry his throws. You do that, he’ll fumble, he’ll throw INTs, and the Bears won’t have to rely on the offense.

On Offense

You’d think by now this would be common sense, but I guess not. In fact, there’s so many things I’d do differently, let’s just bullet point the damned things:

  • Never do a 7-step drop again.
  • Get the ball out of Cutler’s hands quickly.  This means slants, curls, quick crossing-routes, etc.  Nothing that doesn’t take 6 seconds worth of protection to run.  Because the offensive line is atrocious and can’t block for half that time.
  • Continue to run the ball with Forte, but please, can we get rid of the straight up the middle or the left side run where he gets hit at the line of scrimmage?  All his yards were made running off the right side, stick to it.
  • Don’t let Frank Omiyale play the rest of the season
  • Put Cutler in the shotgun more often
  • Have a few designed roll-outs for Cutler.
  • Finally, for God’s sake, how about some play action from time to time? Seriously, it’s the ONLY way you’re going to get time for the receivers to get further than 10 yards down field with the way the offensive line is blocking.

There’s my list folks.  The Bears have the potential to win this game, but they have to shut down AP and they have to keep Jay upright.  I just don’t know if they can do either.  As much as it pains me to say so, I don’t think the Bears get the win this week.


Final Score prediction:  Bears 17, Vikings 24



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