Must Wins Getting Old

The Bears continue to turn up the heat on the Vikings, making tonight's game with the Packers another must-win game.

The term "must-win" has become a little trite in the NFL. Ask a coach or player and they'll tell you every game is a must-win, but in light of Chicago's sixth straight win, the Vikings need to keep pace in the worst way vs. the Packers.

With the win Sunday, the Bears are now 7-3 with a 3-0 record in the division and a win in hand against the Vikings. If the Vikings lost tonight, they would be three full games back with no control over the divisional tie-breakers.

With a win, the Vikings would keep pace and remain two games back and, in the process, effectively put the final nail in the Packers coffin. Can they get it done? They've run off two wins in a row and, with a win tonight, have a set-up that looks good with the Browns and Rams at home and the Lions on the road coming up after this game.

It comes down to who can save their season tonight. If the Bears continue to play like they are, it could be a moot point. The Vikings have the chance to do something special in the second half of the season, but it will mean having to win tonight vs. the Packers or it may be too little too late.

* Of the Vikings' seven remaining games, only two -- vs. the Steelers and Bears at home -- are against teams with a winning record.
* Of their final six games, three of the Bears opponents have a winning record -- the other three are vs. the Vikings and Packers.
* The last four regular-season games between the Vikings and Packers have all been decided by three points.
* Mike Tice on Toniu Fonoti still needing to lose 12 more pounds: "It's like taking a deck chair off the Queen Mary. It's not that big of a deal. Losing 12 pounds (to him) is like the captain telling you to take a suitcase off a 747."
* In the 11 quarters Brad Johnson has been the Vikings starting QB, the Vikings offense has gained just 663 yards.
* On paper, this game looks to be a Packers blowout. The Vikings currently rank 25th on offense (27th rushing, 20th passing) and 28th on defense (26th vs. the run, 26th vs. the pass). The Packers are 16th on offense (30th rushing, 5th passing) and 10th on defense (14th vs. the run and 11th vs. the pass).
* The last time the Vikings won two straight outdoor games was in 2000.
* In 12 regular-season games at Lambeau Field vs. the Vikings, Favre is 9-3 with 2,724 yards passing and 25 touchdowns.
* The Vikings last swept the Packers in 1998.
* Green Bay is 9-4 on Monday nights under Mike Sherman.

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