MATCHUPS TO WATCH: BEARS OFFENSE VS. VIKINGS DEFENSE
Orton would do well to use plenty of play-action fakes to draw the middle linebacker up and find one of the Bears' productive tight ends in the middle of the field.
Gs Josh Beekman and Roberto Garza vs. DTs Kevin Williams and Pat Williams: The Lions found out the hard way what happens when you concentrate your blocking efforts on defensive end Jared Allen, as Kevin Williams totaled four sacks in an ugly 12-10 victory over Detroit. Beekman and Garza are adequate at best flanking former Pro Bowl center Olin Kreutz, and this will be their biggest task to date. Beekman in particular will have to pick between two potent poisons: Does he help John St. Clair off the edge and let the Williams boys dominate one-on-one matchups, or does he maintain the middle and hope his backs and tight ends can assist with Allen on passing downs?
And it's no secret that Kreutz and Pat Williams have no love loss between them, so keep an on the trenches for some extra-curricular activity in this game.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: VIKINGS OFFENSE VS. BEARS DEFENSE
If the Vikings can establish the run and former Bears WR Bobby Wade underneath early to get the secondary closer to the line of scrimmage, former Bears speedster Bernard Berrian could have his third straight 100-yard game receiving.
DEs Adewale Ogunleye and Alex Brown vs. OTs Bryant McKinnie and Ryan Cook: In two of their three losses this year, this supposedly superior Chicago defensive line has failed get a sack on the enemy quarterback. While it's easy to blame a banged-up secondary for Matt Ryan slinging it all over the Georgia Dome in Week 6, Ogunleye and Brown bear some of the responsibility for not putting any serious pressure on the rookie. This version of the Cover 2 simply does not work properly unless the front four is consistently getting after the passer without a lot of help from blitzers, so it's quite beatable if both Ogunleye and Brown are neutralized.
Frerotte isn't the most nimble of 37-year-olds in the pocket, but he's quickly proven that he can have success with the deep ball if given time to look downfield.
THE VIKINGS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF ...
THE VIKINGS WILL LOSE THIS GAME IF ...
THE BEARS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF ...
THE BEARS WILL LOSE THIS GAME IF ...
John Crist: Not only is it difficult for fans to root for the Bears because of all the highs and lows, but that also makes it tougher for people in the media to get a read on this team. Every time I think Lovie Smith and Co. are overmatched they emerge victorious, just like every time I think they've hit their stride they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. My gut tells me the Vikings are a more complete team right now, so I'll pull a Georga Costanza and do the opposite ... BEARS 20, VIKINGS 16.
Behind Enemy Lines: Part III
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