What to look for Sunday against Vikings

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by short faced bear, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. short faced bear

    short faced bear Assistant Head Coach
    DBS Writer

    Mar 29, 2009
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    Bears must build off their success in Week 1

    By Dan Wiederer, Chicago Tribune reporter

    7:25 p.m. CDT, September 13, 2013

    Here's our snapshot look at the Bears as they prepare for Sunday's game against the Vikings at Soldier Field.

    Player in the spotlight

    Wide receiver Brandon Marshall won't need to wow his fantasy owners Sunday to have a major impact. Marshall's mere presence figures to have the Vikings safeties preoccupied throughout the afternoon. That's how it was a week ago for the Lions' Calvin Johnson, who only had four catches for 37 yards against the Vikings. But with Minnesota aiming to keep the top on their Cover-2 zone to limit Johnson's explosive plays, the Lions flourished underneath on their way to 469 total yards.

    Marshall commands similar respect. It's also worth noting that he piled up 22 catches and 252 yards in two meetings with the Vikings last season.

    Marshall's energy seemed to be needling at full in last week's victory over the Bengals. He had 10 balls thrown his way and caught eight, amassing 104 yards, including the go-ahead 19-yard touchdown reception with 7 minutes, 58 seconds.

    "He had it all," coach Marc Trestman said. "He has size. He can run. He's explosive. He finds a way to attack the football and make the big catch."

    Most pressing question

    Can the Bears dial up their focus to build momentum off last week's victory?

    They are again at home and coming off a heartening triumph over one of the AFC's better teams. With their confidence rising, the Bears now face a Vikings squad that committed four turnovers and frequently looked disorganized in a 34-24 Week 1 loss at Detroit.

    The Vikings are also 1-10 at Soldier Field since 2000. No wonder the Bears are six-point favorites. But Trestman stressed all week that there's not time nor reason to exhale.

    "You have to be very vigilant when a team comes in that has had a tough performance," he said. "You have to be very aware that adversity does something to teams in the National Football League. They are going to come in with a sense of urgency."

    The Bears will have to match.

    Keep an eye on …

    It's only mid-September but already worry is elevating over the playing conditions at Soldier Field. The noon kickoff Sunday comes roughly 15 hours after Illinois finishes its Saturday night "Chicago Homecoming" game against Washington. Complicating matters, Sunday's forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms, which could create messy conditions.

    Trestman said Friday head groundskeeper Ken Mrock has assured him the field will hold up on the quick turnaround.

    He also said wind, more than rain or snow, affects how he assembles an offensive game plan, with a need to determine how much can be expected in the passing game outside the numbers.

    Vikings scoop

    Quarterback Christian Ponder looked shaken at times during a four-turnover wreck in last week's loss. Sure, the yardage the Vikings defense allowed was disconcerting. But Ponder's habit of torpedoing his team's chances with costly turnovers cannot be overlooked. In six NFC North road starts, Ponder is 1-5 with 13 turnovers and only five touchdown passes.

    Against the Lions, his interception late in the first half killed the Vikings' chances of adding to a 14-6 lead and allowed Detroit to close to 14-13 at the break. Ponder also got off the hook on a pick six a few drives earlier when Ndamukong Suh's illegal low block negated DeAndre Levy's 33-yard return.

    Now in his third year starting, Ponder's only division road victory came last season against the Lions, a 21-14 triumph in which he threw for only 111 yards and the special teams scored two of the Vikings' three touchdowns.

    Injuries and fines

    The Bears list two starters on the injury report. Cornerback Charles Tillman is probable with a knee injury with defensive tackle Julius Peppers also is probable while fighting an illness. Peppers was back practicing in limited capacity Friday after being sent home Thursday with flu-like symptoms.

    For the Vikings, five starters are on the injury report. Defensive tackle Kevin Williams (knee), linebacker Erin Henderson (heel), center John Sullivan (knee), right tackle Phil Loadholt (knee) and cornerback Josh Robinson (quadriceps) are all probable.

    In the fine department, the league office confirmed no Bears were docked in Week 1.

  2. Chicagoan

    Chicagoan Hall of Famer

    Jun 13, 2007
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    I hoping that the media bashing of Peppers all week stirs something to life within him this week. We need to just create constant chaos for Ponder.

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