The Chicago Bears (2-1) opened the NFL’s 100th season with a 10-3 loss at Soldier Field to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. And they’ll try to avoid an 0-2 start at home with another loss to a division rival when they host the Minnesota Vikings (2-1) on Sunday.
Both the Bears and Vikings have already played the Packers. Mitch Trubisky went 26 for 45 for 228 yards in Week 1, but the Bears put up just three points. He was also sacked five times. Against the same Packers defense in Week 2, Kirk Cousins, who gets the ball downfield a little more, was 14 for 32 for 230 yards but with only one sack. The Vikings offense also managed 16 points.
Both quarterbacks finally seemed to find their footing in Week 3. Cousins went 15 for 21 with a touchdown pass, as the run-first Vikings laid 34 points on the Oakland Raiders. Trubisky went 25 for 31 with three touchdown passes as the Bears took advantage of a forgiving Washington Redskins defense.
The line for this game is Bears -2, and the over/under is 38.5
Cook Early Candidate For MVP
Minnesota’s team has an old-school feel. They rely on the running game and a strong defense to win games in what has become a pass-first league. Cousins is more of a game manager in this system that relies heavily on Dalvin Cook.
The Vikings come into the game ranked seventh in offensive points and 15th in yards per game. Their passing offense ranks 31st in yards, but their rushing offense ranks second.
While the Vikings rely on the run, they would certainly prefer Cousins to be a more productive passer. So far this season, the passing game has outgained the running game only once. That happened in Week 2 against the Packers. In Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons, Cousins didn’t even crack 100 yards. He’s completed 58.7 percent of his passes for 502 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Cook enters the week as the NFL’s leading rusher (57 carries, 375 yards, four TDs) and is also the leader in scrimmage yards with 454. Spelling Cook is Alexander Mattison (25/132/1). Cook has three 100-yard games and is averaging a whopping 6.6 yards per carry. Adam Thielen leads the receiving corps with 11 catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns.
The Minnesota defense ranks fifth in points allowed and 12th in yards allowed. Their passing defense ranks 11th in yards in allowed, and their rushing defense is 13th.
The Vikings have 10 sacks, with Danielle Hunter leading the team with three of them. The defense has also forced three interceptions and recovered three fumbles.
Bears Need More Than Just Defense
Everyone assumed that the Bears were a regression candidate because defensive coordinator Vic Fangio left; surely his departure would have some sort of negative impact. They only allow 13 points per game and hold opponents under 70 yards a game rushing. Akiem Hicks, the team’s best run stopper, is listed as questionable.
Trubisky had an extremely rough start to his season against Green Bay and Denver. He only averaged 4.83 yards per attempt and a 65.0 quarterback rating through the first two games, and he was almost held under 100 yards in Denver. Statistically, Trubisky had a much better game against Washington on Monday.
He completed 80 percent of his passes, had a 116.5 quarterback rating and tossed his first three touchdowns of the season. Trubisky is 67 of 103 for 579 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Allen Robinson is the team’s leading receiver with 17 catches for 203 yards.
Rookie running back David Montgomery looks to have assumed the starting role. He leads the team with 147 yards on 37 carries and a touchdown. They need to get the running game going to take the pressure off Trubisky, who has been shaky to start the season.
This game will remind everyone of the old black and blue division. Two top 10 defenses will square off in what should be a low-scoring game. I do think Chicago found some rhythm against Washington. If they can keep Cook in check and make Cousins beat them, I like their chances.
Bears 24, Vikings 17
I’m taking the Bears -2
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