The Chicago Bears will face the Minnesota Vikings on the road for their Week 15 matchup. This is a key game for the playoff picture, as the divisional rivals are both 6-7, just one game out of the seventh seed. Whoever loses this game is virtually eliminated from playoff contention, while the winner will have a fairly strong chance of making the playoffs. Here are 3 Bears keys to the game for Week 15.
Continue offensive success
In the past three games, Chicago’s offense has impressed. They scored 25 against the Packers, 30 against the Lions and 36 against the Texans. However, the game before the Packers, they had an extremely disappointing performance against the Vikings.
Chicago was only able to score 13 points against a mediocre Minnesota defense. The Vikings have allowed the 24th most points and 22nd most yards this season, but the Bears could not do anything. Their only touchdown came off of a 104 yard kick return by Cordarrelle Patterson.
Their Week 10 loss cannot be blamed on anyone but the offense. The defense only allowed 19 points, despite frequently being set back by the poor Bears offense.
Chicago cannot have another disgusting offensive performance against this subpar Vikings defense. Hopefully starting Mitch Trubisky instead of Nick Foles at quarterback makes a positive impact. In the end, the most important thing is the Bears continuing their recent pattern of offensive success.
Cover Justin Jefferson
Against the Vikings earlier in the season, rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson burnt the Bears secondary. He finished with 8 receptions on 10 targets and 135 yards. Without his productive performance, the Vikings would not have scored so many points.
Jefferson’s success against Chicago in Week 10 is not a fluke. This season, he leads the Vikings in targets, receptions and yards, ahead of the next receiver by over 300 yards. His drop percentage is just 2.2%. In 2020, Justin Jefferson has been not just the best receiver on the Vikings, but one of the best in the NFL.
However, the Bears cannot focus solely on the rookie wideout. The Vikings have many other threats on offense, in particular wide receiver Adam Thielen and running back Dalvin Cook. Thielen is a two time Pro-Bowler and Cook is one of the best running backs in football.
To slow down Minnesota’s offense, Chicago will need to be more keyed on Justin Jefferson. Whether it is double-covering him or simply being more prepared, they must be ready to slow him down. However, the Bears will also need to be wary of Minnesota’s other offensive stars.
The Vikings defensive line is in the middle of pack among NFL teams. On the season, they rank in the bottom half of the league for quarterback hurries, quarterback hits and sacks. They have allowed the 14th most rushing yards and the 19th most yards per carry.
However, in their previous game against the Bears, their defensive line looked all-worldly. They hit quarterback Nick Foles 12 times and allowed 41 rushing yards on 17 carries.
Minnesota should not be getting to the quarterback that much. Their 12 quarterback hits that night account for over one-third of their quarterback hits on the season. One of the many offensive line breakdowns caused Nick Foles to get injured after being tackled hard by a Vikings defensive lineman.
Chicago’s offensive line has played much better in the past few weeks, contributing to their improved offense. They will need to continue this performance against the Vikings, a team that previously dominated Chicago’s offensive line, to win.
This Week 15 matchup is an extremely important game, one that will likely determine the outcome of the season for each team. It is possible that this game is a battle. However, there is not enough evidence to prove that Chicago’s blowout win last week against a bad Texans team is not a mirage. Therefore, expect the Bears to once again disappoint and lose to the Vikings, ruining hopes of a playoff berth in the 2020 NFL season.
Vikings 30 – Bears 24
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