Friday, November 12, 2010
Down 14 with under four minutes to play on Sunday, the Vikings kept their season alive with a stunning comeback capped by an overtime field goal. They're now 3-5, two games behind the second-place Bears. But with a win Sunday and a win next week against Green Bay, they could pull to within one game of first.
On the other hand, a Bears victory would give the Vikes their sixth loss and put them on the brink of elimination (for all intents and purposes). There's a good chance it would also cost Brad Childress his job, what with fans demanding his ouster last Sunday and several Vikings players denouncing him in the Sun-Times this week.
So the Bears could continue to tread water and give the Vikings a lifeline this Sunday, or they could pull into a tie for first and write the Vikings' obituary. Suffice to say, it's a big game.
KEYS TO THE GAME
What can Sidney Rice do? Rice, who had over 1,300 receiving yards and eight TDs last season, has not played this year due to a hip injury. Word is he may return in a limited role against the Bears. There's almost no way he can play the entire game, and one would think he'll be a bit rusty in his return.
Stop A.P. Adrian Peterson has been kept out of the end zone just twice this year, and the Vikings lost both times. The Bears just might be able to slow him down--they have the third-best run defense in the league. And I'm calling it: Peterson will fumble on Sunday; after fumbling at least four times in each of his first three seasons, he has yet to put it on the ground this season.
Cutler's accuracy. The Vikings have just 12 sacks and six interceptions on the season. While nearly every team gets at least a little pressure on Cutler, he should have some time to look down field and find the open man. If he can do that successfully most of the time, the Bears can put up some points--the Vikings have allowed at least 20 points in five straight games.