MATCHUPS TO WATCH: BEARS OFFENSE VS. VIKINGS DEFENSE
LT Chris Williams vs. DE Jared Allen: It's no secret that the Bears have had trouble blocking Allen off the edge, and now the sack specialist will be facing his third different left tackle in his last three matchups with Chicago. Williams, a first-round draft pick two Aprils ago, was essentially redshirted as a rookie because of a back injury and has been hit-and-miss thus far in 2009. With Allen obviously being his biggest challenge of the season, Monday could be an indicator as to whether or not Williams is indeed the left tackle of the future for this franchise.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: VIKINGS OFFENSE VS. BEARS DEFENSE
WR Percy Harvin vs. SS Craig Steltz and FS Josh Bullocks: The Bears have had all kinds of trouble in coverage at both safety positions this year, and it looks like minor injuries to Kevin Payne and Al Afalava have given the coaching staff the reason they were looking for to make more changes. Steltz has been inactive for a month and Bullocks hasn't made much of an impact since coming from New Orleans as a free agent, but both Payne and Afalava graded out poorly last week when Joe Flacco of the Ravens threw for a career-high four touchdowns. Since Harvin had a big day out of the slot in Week 12 against Chicago with six catches for 101 yards and a score, Steltz and Bullocks will have their hands full between the hash marks.
THE VIKINGS WIN IF ...
THE BEARS WIN IF ...
THE VIKINGS LOSE IF ...
THE BEARS LOSE IF ...
John Crist: Since they entered their bye with a 3-1 record, the Bears are 2-8 in their last 10 games and have only beaten the 3-11 Browns and 1-13 Rams. Coach Lovie Smith's seat is getting hotter, especially after general manager Jerry Angelo refused to give him a vote of confidence during an impromptu Q&A in the press box before last week's 31-7 beatdown in Baltimore. Minnesota proved to be better than Chicago in all three phases back in Week 12, and there is little reason to assume anything has changed in this rivalry aside from the venue. – VIKINGS 23, BEARS 13.
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