One week after surrendering the lead in the NFC North, the Chicago Bears look to earn a vital division win against the Minnesota Vikings. Adrian Peterson and company are out for revenge after getting stomped by the Bears at Soldier Field two weeks ago, and a crucial injury on the Chicago defense may be the break the Vikes need.
These three factors will have the most to say about which team comes out on top on Sunday afternoon:
1. How will the Chicago defense fare without Brian Urlacher?
A strained hamstring suffered in last week’s loss to Seattle has Chicago middle linebacker Brian Urlacher sidelined for Sunday’s game. The Bears’ defense has carried the team all year, but now it will need to adjust to the loss of its emotional linchpin—not to mention one of its most versatile players.
Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers Preview, Where To Watch Online Livestream And 3 Keys for a Lions Upset
In all likelihood the Detroit Lions will miss the playoffs. It’s been a disappointing season for a team that was largely viewed as on the rise after last season. This year however, is much different. 4-8 for last place in a division that has the Vikings is not a good place for any team to be, especially a team like the Lions with the awesome spot talent they have.
Nevertheless, this continues to be one of the best division rivalries in the NFL. Detroit’s Ndamakong Suh is a beastly player, and he tends to play his beastliest when playing Green Bay (he stomps on heads). So, you can most definitely expect a highly physical game as both teams have ridiculously underperforming defenses anchored by consistent players.
The emotional leader of the Chicago Bears’ defense is going to be back in a sadly familiar position this weekend: leading from the sidelines.
Veteran linebacker Brian Urlacher is injured, yet again.
As reported by the Chicago Tribune, Urlacher strained his hamstring in Sunday's loss to the Seahawks. The severity of the so-called Grade 2 sprain is such that one surgeon quoted by the Tribune said a typical recovery time is in the range of four to six weeks.
Even in the best-case scenario, that costs the Bears the services of their eight-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker for the rest of the regular season. Fortunately for Chicago, their last month of pre-playoff action is just easy enough that they should be able to squeak into a wild-card berth.
The Seattle Seahawks are very much alive in the NFC postseason picture, but being a playoff contender means beating such top-tier conference foes as the Chicago Bears. Chicago’s decisive win over the Vikings put it firmly in the driver’s seat in the NFC North, and the Bears would love to add another home win to run their Soldier Field record to 6-1.
These factors will have the most to say about which defense-first club triumphs on Sunday afternoon:
1. Will either quarterback break 200 yards passing?
This game features two of the NFL’s top six passing defenses against its two least-productive aerial attacks. Seattle’s Russell Wilson is the second rookie quarterback to face the Bears this year, and he can’t be looking forward to facing a defense that demolished Andrew Luck back in Week 1.
Green Bay (7-4) was most certainly not able to eke out the upset win last week in New York, getting embarrassed by the Giants, 38-10 – the Packers’ worst loss in five years.
The Giants had a superior game plan in place. Largely ignoring the Packers’ running game, they keyed in on stopping quarterback, Aaron Rodgers with great success. It resulted in five sacks, a forced fumble and pressure that led to an interception.
Meanwhile a balanced offense showed that Green Bay still has trouble getting off the field when defending. Several quick scores put the Packers into too deep a hole and the game was over by halftime.
Both of these factors will have serious implications for this week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings (6-5).