The Minnesota Vikings travel to Soldier Field for a Monday Night Football tilt against the Chicago Bears. The Vikings will look to bounce back following a difficult first loss of the season against the Philadelphia Eagles, while the Bears look to try and turn their season around with the return of Jay Cutler into the fold. Here are three things to watch for this game:
1. How Will Jay Cutler Look After Coming Back From Injury?
Cutler has not thrown a pass in a game since Week 2, and will now be forced to take on the NFL’s best defense on Monday night. Cutler has struggled throughout his career when faced with consistent pressure, and the Vikings will throw everything at him in his first game back. Cutler will need to show patience and be as calm as possible in the pocket to allow his receivers to create space in the open field.
The Bears staff will have to be smart and get Cutler into a rhythm early with short passes and screens. If he finds his rhythm, don’t be surprised to see him throw the ball downfield as the game wears on.
2. Will Minnesota’s struggles on offense continue?
Despite having a 5-1 record and boasting the league’s best defense, the Vikings have numerous issues on the offensive side of the ball. Quarterback Sam Bradford struggled mightily against the Eagles last week. The running game, without star Adrian Peterson, has been virtually nonexistent, and nd the offensive line play has been downright subpar due to injuries and bad play.
Even though they are 1-6, the Bears’ defense has played well, and they may be able to take advantage of the Vikings’ woes. If the Bears stop the run and force Bradford to throw a lot, it could be another long night for Minnesota’s offense.
3. Alshon Jeffery Will Be a Beast
Now that Cutler is back under center expect wide receiver Alshon Jeffery to be the focal point on offense once again for the Bears. Jeffery and Cutler play off each other very well, and Cutler is not afraid to lean on his No. 1 receiver when needed.
When backup Brian Hoyer started in Cutler’s place, he spread the ball out evenly to all his targets, but Jeffery appeared to be the odd-man out in a lot of critical situations. With Cutler back, Jeffery should be able to put up a big game against the Vikings.
This is not as easy as it looks. Throw the records out, and you can see both teams having issues. However, I see the Vikings defense making life uncomfortable for Cutler in his return, and making a concerted effort to control the line of scrimmage on offense. Vikings 27, Bears 17