Just when the Chicago Bears thought they would avoid serious injury to a major contributor, they are forced to place fourth-year OG Lance Louis in injured reserve.
Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com reported the story Monday evening. The injury to Louis is a crushing blow for an offensive line that has been the Bears’ trouble spot all season long. Louis is believed to have a torn ACL after being hit by a diving Jared Allen. At the time, Louis was chasing down Minnesota Vikings CB Antoine Winfield who had just intercepted a Jay Cutler thrown pass.
The Allen hit on Louis raises a question: In the time when safety regarding concussions is held at a priority in football, why is it legal to hit a player near the knees or use yourself as a launchpad?
Suffering from a concussion is one thing, but having a torn ACL is a different animal.
In football, some players bounce back in one week or two. Albeit they are not the same, but they do not have months upon months of rehab to do. Louis may not be the same player after being hit by Allen.
The Chicago Bears hope a return to Soldier Field can stop their two-game losing skid, but the Minnesota Vikings won’t make it easy for them. The 6-4 Vikings come off a bye looking for their third straight win in the division against the 7-3 Bears.
Whether the Bears can stay tied with Green Bay for first place will be decided largely by these three factors:
1. How much can Chicago hope to get from Jay Cutler?
After missing last week’s debacle in San Francisco with a concussion, Jay Cutler will reportedly resume his quarterbacking duties against the Vikings. He’ll be hard-pressed to look worse than Jason Campbell has done this season, but it’s an open question how sharp Cutler will be against an imposing Minnesota pass rush.
Jared Allen is the kind of sack specialist who has slaughtered the Bears this season, and if he puts Cutler on the ground with regularity, Chicago’s offense is sunk. Even if he has time to throw, Cutler can’t afford any lapses in his timing or confidence after his week on the sidelines.
Revenge is one of those clichés that’s dusted off whenever two playoff opponents from the previous year meet in the regular season. The Green Bay Packers (7-3) heading into New York (well okay, New Jersey) to take on the Giants (6-4) is such a case.
Unfortunately for Green Bay fans, revenge as a motivation for winning has been a bit overrated. But that’s not to say the Packers will not be able to leave MetLife Stadium with a win, it is just likely that if they do, it will be for other reasons.
If you like storylines, this is a game for you. Does Eli Manning have a "tired" arm? How big is the "revenge" factor? Can the Giants rebound off the bye? Will the Packers overcome their injuries? Let's dig in.
Monday Night Football features a possible NFC Championship preview this week as the 6-2-1 San Francisco 49ers host the 7-2 Chicago Bears. The Bears, though, will be operating with a severe handicap, not only because they’re on the road but because starting quarterback Jay Cutler is out of action following a concussion suffered last week against the Texans.
Chicago’s quarterbacking woes aren’t the only key factor to keep an eye on in the Week 11 finale, but they are the biggest:
1. Can Jason Campbell score any points at all?
Even with the rifle-armed Cutler running the offense for the vast majority of the season, Chicago still ranks 30th in the NFL in passing. Backup Jason Campbell is a competent game manager, but hardly the kind of quarterback who will win many ballgames against a defense as tough as San Francisco’s.
The Bears have hidden their lack of a passing game behind rushing yards and defensive touchdowns this season, but both of those will be in short supply against San Francisco. If Campbell doesn’t make some big plays, Chicago has no chance to win this game.