Losing Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson and then winning five consecutive games shows you just never know what to expect when it comes to the NFL. The Minnesota Vikings saw their unbeaten streak fall in their last outing, a surprise loss to Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles, but they’re ready to get back on track under the bright lights of Monday Night Football.
The Bears return to Monday Night Football this week, their second appearance of the season. They’ll host the Minnesota Vikings, who enter the contest fresh off their first loss of the year last week in Philadelphia.
Division rivals square off as the first-place Dallas Cowboys take on the second-place Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football! In what could be a potential playoff preview, Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys host Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles in a battle for the NFC East.
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Who: Minnesota Vikings vs. Chicago Bears
When: Monday, October 31, 2016
Where: Soldier Field, Chicago
Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears:
|8:30 PM (ET)||Soldier Field, Chicago|
Jay Cutler’s injured thumb miraculously healed just in time to replace Brian Hoyer at quarterback. Will the embattled starter’s return be enough to dig Chicago out of its 1-6 hole and send Minnesota to a second straight defeat in a Monday Night Football matchup?
The Chicago Bears are in complete free fall mode. They’re 1-6 and John Fox spent the past week refuting a report that claimed he was done with Cutler. Meanwhile, Cutler has the pleasure of playing his first game against the best defense in all of football, which ranks second in DVOA, first in yards and points allowed per game, and first in takeaways.
Still, Cutler does at least have a history of playing well against the Minnesota Vikings . He’s posted a 91.8 passer rating against them. And the Bears (not necessarily including Fox) are excited for his return.
The Vikings will travel to face the NFC North rival Chicago Bears, a tall task in Soldier Field, but it’s one the Vikings feel they can handle. The Vikings are 5-1, while the Bears are 1-6 on the season, owning a win over the rival Detroit Lions. That win was bookended by a pair of three-game losing skids.
Sunday was one of the most joyous sports nights in Chicago in decades, as the Cubs pulled out their first World Series home win in 71 years to stave off elimination and keep their title hopes alive. Monday night in Chicago features a game certain to be a lot less joyful.
Hoyer may not have given up the starting spot otherwise. The journeyman backup played some of the best football of his career in relief, throwing for 1,445 yards and six touchdowns while completing 67 percent of his passes. That gave John Fox plenty of evidence to name Hoyer his full-time starter, but a timely injury will give Cutler one more opportunity to state his case as the Bears’ quarterback of the present.
Meanwhile, the Vikings (5-1) are still atop the NFC North despite getting stomped by the Philadelphia Eagles a week ago. Their offensive line, which nearly got Sam Bradford killed in his return to Philadelphia, remains more than just a mess, it might just be what costs them a trip to the Super Bowl.
Minnesota will have to step up its protection to get the most out of its prized preseason acquisition. Bradford hasn’t exactly been the model of health in his professional career. He’s played a full 16-game season just twice in his seven-year career. Every time he gets driven into the turf is the football equivalent of pulling a gator’s tooth in a game of Crocodile Dentist.
The Bears are in turmoil at 1-6. The embattled Jay Cutler gets the start at quarterback according to the embattled coach John Fox. With a bye coming up next week, Fox would do well not to make sure the Bears embarrassed on Monday night.
Minnesota’s Week 7 struggles to protect Bradford and its league-leading defense stand to make Monday night’s affair a low-scoring one. Will Cutler be able to regain his spot atop the Chicago depth chart by leading his Bears to a major upset in prime time? Or will the Vikings continue to roll towards another NFC North crown?
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