Free NFL Pick: Minnesota at Chicago 11-14-2010

November 10, 2010

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Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears

Sunday November 14th, 2010 1:00 PM EST

Line: Minnesota -2

Overview:

The Vikings seemed to have a little bit of their 2009 magic sprinkled on them last week in their incredible come from behind victory against Arizona. They will look to have that momentum carry over into Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears. While the Bears began the season with a 4-1 record, they stand at 5-3, beating only the 1-7 Panthers and 0-7 Bills in their last five games.

Keys to the Game:

  • Jared Allen toyed with the Cardinals, coming up with 2.5 sacks. While Brett Favre has regressed this season, so has the Minnesota defense and Allen in particular. He has a great opportunity to have another multiple sack game. Jay Cutler had all day long to throw against the Bills, but he might not be so lucky against Minnesota. The Bears are still dead last in sacks allowed this year with 32. The offensive line is going to be abused by #69.
  • Julius Peppers hasn’t had a sack since week four, but he still manages to terrorize quarterbacks throughout the course of a game. Peppers is one of those guys you have to account for at all times. He always commands the attention of two players on offense and still manages to make quarterbacks uncomfortable in the pocket. That being said, his sack numbers are way down this season. It would be nice to see Peppers’ sack total match his production.
  • Just when it seemed like Brett Favre might be down for the count, he threw for a career high 446 yards and two touchdowns in a remarkable comeback victory. A big part of his success has to be attributed directly to Percy Harvin. Harvin caught nine passes for 146 yards, giving him his second 100 yard game in a row. The Vikings have been missing a go to guy at wide receiver. It turns out the Sydney Rice injury and Randy Moss departure have made Percy Harvin that guy. Favre has an receiver he can depend on and since the Bears have made a habit of shutting down running backs, the Vikings are going to rely heavily on Harvin on Sunday.
  • The Bears are as stingy as they come when it comes to run defense, but Adrian Peterson is unstoppable. The Bears have a ferocious defense that is full of run stopping machines. That being said, Adrian Peterson is the best running back in the league. He has already scored seven touchdowns on the ground and rushed for 857 yards. Peterson does not shy away from contact. The last time the Bears faced a running back that could even draw comparisons to the threat Peterson poses on the ground was Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw posted 133 yards in his game against Chicago. Peterson will look to duplicate that performance.
  • Chicago hasn’t lost a game this season where Jay Cutler has thrown more touchdowns than interceptions. Cutler needs time to be successful. When he gets that time, he looks like an all-pro. When he doesn’t, he looks like a back up. The Bears rely on Cutler to be successful on offense. Matt Forte has all but disappeared since the Bears got off to their great start, so the Bears struggle when Cutler does. Cutler complimented his offensive line in the post game interview and thinks they have the right group in place. If the Vikings disrupt Cutler’s rhythm, we are going to see the Jay Cutler that haas some Bears fans wondering why the organization gave up so much to acquire him.

Wrap Up:

Both of these teams are difficult to read. You have two teams who came close to being served a loss against struggling teams last week, but managed to come away with a victory. This game comes down to the quarterback play. Favre will have the better game in all likelihood as his ankle heals and he continues to build on his recent success with Percy Harvin. Jay Cutler’s perception of his offensive line could change quickly if Jared Allen gets loose, so I’m going with the Vikings in this one, though I am reluctant to do so.

Free NFL Pick: Minnesota -2


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