This is an historic game for the Chicago Bears (1-3) as they host the division rival Minnesota Vikings (2-2) on Monday Night Football at Soldier Field. You know why……don’t you?
It will be historic because a new era is beginning with HC John Fox having named rookie 1st round QB #10 Mitch Trubisky as the starter. This will be his 1st career NFL start and whether we agree with the decision or not, it will definitely be exciting and interesting.
After four mediocre performances by QB #8 Mike Glennon, the Bears coaches and management decided to throw Trubisky in there and see what happens. It should be really fun, no matter how you slice it.
Watch Out For……….
QB #10 Mitch Trubisky – Who else could be our “Watch Out For” player this week? By the way, I’m not calling him “Mitchell” no matter how much his mom might hate me. It will always be “Mitch” to the “Dutch Lion”. So Mitch will start his career against a sometimes fierce Minnesota defense. Trubisky might not have much help, just like his predecessor Glennon. The Bears WR unit is probably the weakest in the NFL. Challenge to you readers….name a weaker group of wide receivers at present. I don’t think you’ll find one. Having said that, the Bears will need to find a way. A strong running game is the right recipe. Get Trubisky some easy throws, some screen passes to the “Joker Back” Tarik Cohen, some roll-outs where Tru can tuck and run if there’s an opening. Eyes will be on OC Dowell Loggains to see if he calls different plays than he would have for Glennon. Here’s hoping he gives Trubisky a chance to succeed. It’s gonna be fun on Monday Night!
Aikman Efficiency Ratings (AER)
- Minnesota: 10th overall, 8th offense, 10th defense
- Chicago: 28th overall, 26th offense, 26th defense
These numbers don’t look promising for the Bears. Of course, with a new QB in the huddle, the 26th rated offense might not be 26th anymore. Minnesota lost rookie starting RB Dalvin Cook to a torn ACL last week so they also have a new challenge. Maybe their offense isn’t 8th best either. They may or may not have starting QB Sam Bradford, who has missed the last three games and is still day-to-day. Case Keenum has played inconsistently in Bradford’s absence over the last 3 games. Overall his numbers look really solid: 61-100 passing, 755 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, 94.4 rating. But when you study him closer, you will see that he played INCREDIBLE in one game vs Tampa but lousy at best in the other two losses at Pittsburgh and home vs Detroit.
- Keenum @ Pittsburgh 9/17: 20-37-167-0-0-65.9 rating
- Keenum vs Tampa 9/24: 25-33-369-3-0-142.1 rating
- Keenum vs Detroit 10/1: 16-30-219-0-0-76.9 rating
To recap, Keenum and the Vikes played awful in a loss at Pittsburgh 26-9 in Week 2. Then they played awesome in a home victory over Tampa Bay 34-17. How weird is football? The Bears did the exact opposite against those common opponents. The NFL is all about parity. Home field advantage is real though. In all four of those matchups between common teams, the home team won.
In fact, Minnesota has only played one road game so far and it was a disaster. They are 2-1 at home. So their 2-2 overall record is no big surprise. I WAS a little surprised they lost at home to Detroit last week 14-7, but losing Cook and having a backup QB in there, well….let’s just say it sounds a little “Bear-like”.
You may recall that last year we had a very similar situation in Week 8. Minnesota was coming to town to face a bad, beat-up Chicago team on MNF. Minny had an incredible start (5-1) while the Bears were scuffling (1-6). The game was on Halloween. For some reason I couldn’t see the writing on the wall and predicted that the Vikings would win 19-12. Boy were we wrong! The Bears dominated in surprising fashion, winning 20-10 as Jordan Howard led the way with 153 rushing yards and 202 total yards! Will history repeat itself this year? Hey Yogi, can you say “Deja Vu all over again”?
Sam Bradford hasn’t practiced since September 21 and is day-to-day. Assuming Keenum is in line to start on Monday night, along with backup RB Latavius Murray whom the Vikes signed from Oakland to be rookie Dalvin Cook’s backup, the Vikings will be without their top two ball handlers. Cook was having a super rookie year with 354 yards and 2 TD (4.8 avg) until the injury. Murray has been poor: 14-38-0 (2.7 avg). The strength of Minnesota’s offense so far has been the WR’s: #14 Stefon Diggs (22 catches) and #19 Adam Thielen (24 catches). They are both having big years, but can Keenum get them the ball? He’s been sacked 4 times in 3 games which is a decent improvement from the Vikes 2016 problem which was their OL. If you read that Preview from last year’s game, the “Dutch Lion” predicted a minimum of 3 sacks by the Bears and sure enough, he was right as they recorded 5 sacks. This year…….
Let’s make it a double whammy! I’ll go on record and predict the Bears will record 3 sacks! Chicago will have a big game running the ball with RB #24 Jordan Howard and #29 Tarik Cohen. And best of all, Bears fans will go home crazy with excitement after witnessing a home win to start the Mitch Trubisky Era!
Chicago Bears 24 Minnesota Vikings 17