In their game against the Minnesota Vikings this week, the Chicago Bears' offensive line is going to make whoever is under center irrelevant. The Bears are going to lose, and it is time to hit the panic button in Chicago.
We'll get into that, but let's check in on Cutler's status. The Chicago Bears tweeted the latest update.
Now, it is reasonable to think that since Cutler has been cleared to practice by Wednesday, that he will be able to take part in game action by Sunday. However, with concussions there are no certainties.
But back to the premise at hand: It isn't going to matter.
The Bears' pass protection has been abysmal. They are 31st in the league in sacked percentage by allowing their QB to get sacked on a whopping 10.3 percent of his dropbacks, and as anyone who saw Jason Campbell hitting the turf repeatedly against the 49ers this past Monday night can attest, the pass protection is not getting any better.
Campbell was sacked six times in that one, and he was under pressure all game.
Yes, the 49ers have a nice pass rush, but Minnesota's is actually better. The Vikings are 12th in sack percentage on the season, and the 49ers are 14th.
With defensive ends Jared Allen and Brian Robinson, the Vikings can generate much of this pressure with just their front four, and those two guys are going to give the Bears' much-maligned tackles fits.
This is going to make life miserable for the Bears' passing game, and they won't find much relief with the running game. Minnesota is eighth in the league by allowing just 3.9 yards per rush.
Will the Bears make the playoffs?
This will leave the Bears' offense struggling, and Chicago's defense will not be able to save a victory.
While the Bears' defense has been outstanding, they aren't great against the run. They are 18th in the league by allowing 4.2 yards per carry. Adrian Peterson will have a prolific day for the Vikings, which will allow them to control the flow of the game and ultimately lead to victory.
This will leave the Bears at 7-4, slipping from the playoff race and facing a daunting schedule. This once-promising season for Chicago is headed in the wrong direction, and the return of Jay Cutler will not reverse the trend.