Bears vs. Vikings Prediction: Can Chicago continue to improve?
Brad Mills - USA Today Sports

Bears vs. Vikings Prediction: Can Chicago continue to improve?


by - Senior Writer -

Now that the Bears have had more than 10 days to sit back and enjoy their first win in what seems like forever, it is time for this team to get back to work as they try to make it two in a row. For that to happen, the Bears will have to try and figure out how to beat their division rivals, the Minnesota Vikings, who have won six straight games against this team, including the last three at Soldier Field.

Say what you want about the records, as both teams are sitting at 1-4 on the season. The difference between the two is that the Vikings have self-destructed all season and have gone 1-4 in one-score game this season as opposed to 11-0 last year. Throw in their best player recently being placed on the IR, and this could be the rare opportunity for the Bears to steal a game from the Vikings, which could go a long way in helping this team gain some confidence heading into the season.

Here are some things to look for ahead of the divisional matchup:

Bears dodged a bullet

When it comes to the Minnesota Vikings and the success of their offense, look no further than Justin Jefferson as the engine that makes them go. The fourth-year WR is arguably the best WR in the game, and if he were on the Bears roster, he would be the team's all-time leading receiver in just four seasons.

Guarding Jefferson is a hard enough task, but when he can make the catches and plays he makes, even in double coverage, you can see why he has put up the numbers he has all season and career-long. However, after coming up lame last week against the Chiefs, Jefferson was unable to return to action as he is dealing with a hamstring injury.

Jefferson has been placed on the injured reserve list to make matters worse for the Vikings, which will keep him out of action for the next four weeks. That is a massive relief for the Bears, as their secondary has been banged up and will be slightly healthier this week. This Vikings offense will look much different this week, and it couldn't have come at a better time.

Capitalize on your opportunities

A big reason for the Vikings struggles this season has been their inability to hang onto the football. Whether interceptions or fumbles, the Vikings have shot themselves in the foot and are leading the NFL in turnovers. That is not a list you want to be leading, and the Vikings know that.

However, the Bears haven't done a great job forcing turnovers, although you saw them do a better job last week. If there was ever a team to help you get on track, at least in the turnover department, the Vikings are that team, as they continue to give the ball away at any moment. Should that happen again, it will be up to the Bears to capitalize on those opportunities as they try to pick up another win.

Stay hot Justin Fields

After going through three horrendous games to start the season, Fields has responded with a pair of massive games as he has thrown for eight TDs and just one INT over his past two games. That gives him 11 TD passes on the season, which was the NFL lead until Kirk Cousins overtook him against the Chiefs on Sunday.

Now, back on the field after some extended time off, it will be interesting to see how Fields responds, especially after finally putting together a couple of excellent games. Had this been the Minnesota defense from last season, you could be looking at a record game for Fields, as their defense was putrid at best a season ago.

Granted, they are a much better unit with Brian Flores calling the defensive plays; the Vikings defense still has plenty of work to do, although Danielle Hunter appears to be back to 100% and is doing a phenomenal job at getting to the QB. If Fields continues to play his game and use both his legs and what the defense gives him, you could be looking at another strong showing for the QB, which will go a long way for his future.

Prediction: BEAR DOWN

This is a very tough one to predict, mainly because we still need to learn how good or bad each team is. Despite winning three straight and four of the last five in Chicago, Soldier Field has always been a house of horrors for the Vikings, and the Bears are hoping that trend can continue this week.

You have two of the hotter QBs in the league right now, a pair of underachieving defenses, although playing better, and two of the better WRs in the NFL, with one sitting out and the other coming off a career game. This could be a must-win game for either side, and you can bet the emotions will be cranked up a bit in this one.

If Jefferson were playing, I would lean the Vikings way, but with him out of the lineup, this becomes more of a toss-up game. I like the Bears to make it two straight as they hold off the Vikings 27-24.

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