Throughout the week, you’ve turned to this page for analysis and predictions relative to Minnesota’s Week 2 matchup with the Chicago Bears.
And while my fellow Vikings featured columnists and I provide you with great content relative to Minnesota, you’re going to get the other side of the story here.
With the help of Chicago Bears Featured Columnist Andrew Dannehy—who is also the associate editor for the Trempealeau County Times and a writer for Cover 32—Chicago’s point of view will be presented on a few different topics.
Below are Dannehy's insights, with my take of his analysis.
If you care to get my take on the Minnesota point of view, check out my insights in this post published on the Chicago Bears’ B/R page.
What is something you're concerned about with facing the Vikings?
AD: The easy answer is Adrian Peterson, but I'm never one to take the easy route so I'll say Jared Allen.
The Bears spent a lot of money on Jermon Bushrod this offseason, but there is some legitimate debate (led by Pro Football Focus) about if he was worth it or if he benefited from playing with Drew Brees.
While it went mostly unrecognized, Bushrod was at least partially responsible for Jay Cutler’s interception against the Bengals. Cutler was trying to throw down the field to Martellus Bennett, but as he released the ball, the man Bushrod was supposed to be blocking grabbed the inside of Cutler’s shoulder pads. That led to Cutler’s body twisting and the ball going directly into the hands of the Bengals’ Vontaze Burfict.
When it comes to great pass rushers, Allen’s name rarely gets mentioned these days, but he’s had 34 sacks over the last two years. If he gets the best of Bushrod, he could force some turnovers and give AP a short field to work with.
MN: While I disagree with Allen being disregarded as a pass rusher these days, Dannehy is spot on. Allen could be in for a huge day against the Bears.
Week 1 should have presented Allen with a favorable matchup to wreak havoc on Matthew Stafford. Riley Reiff was a second-year pro making his second start at left tackle. Reiff limited Allen to four tackles and zero sacks.
With Minnesota facing a “must win” game, according to Brian Robison who said as much to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Allen needs to show up to disrupt Chicago’s aerial assault.
What is one area you think the Bears can exploit in the matchup?
AD: I think the Vikings are going to work hard to make sure Matt Forte doesn’t burn them like Reggie Bush did a week ago. I also think they’re going to try and take Brandon Marshall out of the Bears’ game plan. Those two factors should lead to a lot of favorable matchups for Alshon Jeffery.
Jeffery had arguably the worst game of his young career the last time the two teams played each other, but they were mostly mental mistakes. He slipped early in the first quarter (causing an interception that set up a touchdown) and later dropped a touchdown pass. He still caught three passes for 57 yards and a touchdown that game, but those two mistakes possibly cost the Bears the game. The Vikings had a hard time covering him then and I don’t see why that would have changed.
If the Vikings try to play Jeffery straight up, he is capable of making big plays and beating them.
MN: Jeffery absolutely is capable of making plays if he’s in one-on-one matchups.
But that’s a risk the Vikings have to take and one many will take when facing Chicago.
You don’t want Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte beating you. You want that to fall onto the secondary targets, like Jeffery and Martellus Bennett.
And this isn’t something that’s just done in football. It’s like intentionally walking Miguel Cabrera to get to Prince Fielder if you’re playing the Detroit Tigers or playing strong help defense to induce LeBron James to pass on the game-winning shot.
If they beat you with their second-tier options, then you tip your cap to 'em and call it a day.
Who wins and why?
AD: I’m going with the Bears. I have some concerns about their defense after last week and protection is always an issue in Chicago, but I think they’ll have enough this week. They’ve owned the series in recent years in large part because the Vikings’ secondary has been suspect and Jay Cutler has taken advantage. Even if the Bears have to keep an extra blocker in sometimes, I think they will win the matchups on the back end. I also think Christian Ponder will make a big mistake to seal it.
MN: Tough for me to argue with the final result. I pick da Bears, too.
Chicago is 5-3 against Minnesota over the past four seasons and 9-1 over the past 10 when hosting Minnesota in the regular season.
The Vikings have top-tier talent in their secondary (Harrison Smith, Chris Cook, Xavier Rhodes) but lack depth. This will be another game that will test that. Cutler could very well have a field day, much like Matthew Stafford (28 of 43 for 357 yards and two touchdowns) in Week 1.