It took the Bears about thirty minutes to begin their 2013 season in earnest. Now they take the momentum from an opening day win, stay at home, and face the team that kept them from the postseason in 2012.
WHY DO I LIKE THE CHICAGO BEARS THIS WEEK?
I always like the Chicago Bears.
BUT WHAT FOOTBALL REASONS, JEFF?
- Christian Ponder is playing quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings and he's on the road. The combination of Ponder and the most consistently ball-hawking defense in the sport should mean a long afternoon for the visitors.
- Tangible improvement from the first-to-second half Sunday was about as inspiring as anything we've seen offensively since Cutler went down at 7-3 a few years back. This Bears offense will grow in comfort level each Sunday, especially at home.
- Trestman will put the emphasis on pass rush this week in practice. I expect it to be improved.
- Yes, Adrian Peterson is arguably the best player in the sport but the Bears have proven in the past they can beat the Vikings even when they DON'T stop him. And based on the run defense displayed in the opener, I'd be surprised if Peterson puts up the 150-200 yards necessary to take this game on the road.
- Robbie Gould, Adam Podlesh and Devin Hester all played well Sunday and I expect it to continue. If Eric Weems can attempt a block or two on punt returns, Hester can spring one.
- Vikings have never faced this Bears offensive line and, in the past few years, their dominance over that unit has been the factor keeping them in almost every tilt. That ends Sunday.
- Minnesota at home has been the week Jay Cutler shines.
DA BEAR CONCERNS
- Concern #1: Kyle Rudolph had a quiet opening day performance against the Lions but the Bengals had a lot of success throwing underneath the Bears defense. When Rudolph played against the Bears last year he was a dynamic threat going for 5-55-1. Expect him to be a main target Sunday.
- Concern #2: I think it will take an announcement by Jared Allen that he's retiring for me to take him for granted on Sundays.
- Concern #3: The Bears arm tackled in the first half Sunday more than they had in the last two seasons. Arm tackles + Adrian Peters = long touchdown runs.
THE MATCH-UP OF REMARKABLE IMPORTANCE
- LB James Anderson vs. Rudolph. Anderson was something of a revelation in coverage week one, closing space with confidence and showing tremendous awareness once the ball went airborne. He'll need to be even better this Sunday
- Runner Up: LT Jermon Bushrod v. Allen. One word came to mind watching Bushrod on tape: balance. His footwork seems excellent. But Allen will be the first significant test for him this year.
From the Star Tribune:
J’Marcus Webb, the new swing tackle for the Vikings offensive line, was asked Monday what went so wrong in Chicago that it landed him in Minnesota via the NFL’s waiver wire.
“No comment,” he said.
Laughter. Pause. Uncomfortable silence.
“I’m not too sure,” he said. “Things work out the way they need to at times, and things don’t when they don’t. Moving forward, I’m really excited to be here. I’m loving every day of it. I just got here [Sunday] and it’s beautiful.”
Um, J’Marcus, it was 59 degrees and overcast.
“It’s beautiful!” he said. “I’m excited.”
There has been ACTUAL talk of the Vikings attempting to pull information from J'Marcus Webb this week in preparation for the Bears. I responded to this with two Tweets:
Wait. Now there's a JWebb as information machine storyline? How do people think NFL works? Webb never experienced a game plan installation.
Side note: if Les Frazier is depending 0.007% on JWebb for his game-planning Sunday he should be fired before kickoff.
THE MOST INTERESTING PLAYER ON THE FIELD
- Julius Peppers. Contrary to popular opinion I did not think Peppers looked old or slow upon further review of the Bengals game. I thought he looked rusty, which is to be expected from the veteran player who logged the fewest combined practice/preseason game reps outside DJ Williams. Peppers needs a solid performance Sunday to silence the townsfolk preparing to march up the castle because even if the Bears win easily, eyes will be focused on his performance.
THIS VIDEO HAS VERY LITTLE TO DO WITH FOOTBALL
A SINGLE STAT PREDICTION (1-0 on the season)
- Jay Cutler will NOT turn the ball over.
WRAPPING IT UP IN TWO SENTENCES
- Bears commit to stopping Adrian Peterson and have enough success to force Christian Ponder into several timely errors. The offense continues to improve on Week One, second-half success and delivers a knockout.
Chicago Bears 34, Minnesota Vikings 16