Friday, September 22, 2006

Looks like I get to rag on Ian Dembsky again this week. He not only picks Minnesota over Chicago this week, but he adds this inexplicable thought: "If Minnesota can hold serve, then the Week 13 game in Chicago will likely be for the division crown. " I think there's just as much a chance of that happening as there is that by that point the game is so meaningless that some of the Bears starters get to rest. Yeah, sure, the Vikes are 2-0 right now, but everyone saw John Fox forfeit the game last week, and Washington is just way overrated, as usual.

My predictions for the Bears game this week: The Vikings do actually look like they have a better defense than either Detroit or Green Bay, but the headline for ESPN's scouting report says "Fierce defense on display," yet another indiciation of the lack of understanding around the commentariat of just how much better the Bears defense is than other "good" defenses. The Vikings defense will probably be able to stop the Bears more than they've been the last two weeks. In past years, this would've made for a good game, since the Vikings offense was probably good enough to make the game difficult. However, Grossman hasn't just looked like an average quarterback taking advantage of weak defenses, he's looked like an amazing quarterback completely taking defenses apart. He's made some throws (like that one to Davis last week that he set down perfectly in between three Lions defenders and hit Davis exactly in stride) that almost nobody else in the league would make. Minnesota will be extra jazzed up at the beginning of the game, so it would be perfect if they managed a quick score, but probably it will take until the third quarter before they manage to break the game open. I'd like to think the running game could finally get something going this week, but that Vikings line looks pretty tough to run against. But all they really need to do, though, is get a few more first downs from the running team and they'll be able to really limit the few chances Minnesota will have to win the game. On the other side of the ball, Alex Brown and Ian Scott will probably have tougher time with Steve Hutchinson and Matt Birk than anyone else they'll face all season, but at the other end of the line, Ogunleye and Harris (and Tank Johnson) will be able to fly right through their half of the OLine. The Vikings had a tough enough time handling just Julius Peppers last week. Johnson won't have a lot of fun on the ground all day. I really don't think the Bears'll give up a touchdown this week, but if they do, that will mark the end of offensive production for the Vikes.

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