Ryan Bukowiecki is a student at the Illinois Media School and a contributor to The D & Davis Show
Folks, we have reached the final game of the 2017 Chicago Bears season. Take a deep breath, let it out slowly.
The Bears will be taking on the Vikings who still have something to play for because with a victory they would clinch a first round bye and the number two seed in the NFC. The Bears will be playing for pride and one thing that has been nice to see is that the team in general has not quit on the season. It will be one more look and valuable reps for Mitch Trubisky in his rookie year making his 12th start of his NFL career.
For the rest of the team it is (and has been) evaluation time. Who are the guys that can put together enough film for the Bears to want to keep moving into 2018.
Of course other rookies and young players will continue to get valuable reps like Trubisky but the real intrigue will come after the game as the future of the Bears coaching staff (and maybe the front office) seem to be in jeopardy. Many expect Ryan Pace to lead the next coaching search and relieve John Fox of his duties as early as Sunday night.
Bears fans will be locked into the expected moves the Bears will make at seasons end but first their is one more game to be played, here are the keys for the Bears against the Vikings.
Run The Ball — This is a scary Vikings team and definitely one of the favorites to win the NFC. The defense of the Vikings is ferocious and is complimented by a good offensive system from their offensive coordinator Pat Schurmur (a favorite of this writer to replace John Fox).
The Bears will have to try and get their run game going to have any chance in this game. The Bears are out manned and out gunned therefore controlling the ball and clock is a must for any type of victory. That is going to be difficult as the Vikings are the top rated defense in the NFL and second in rush defense only giving up 87.1 yards a game. In all likely hood it will take a rushing effort well over a hundred yards for the Bears to keep this close.
Mitch, Make Some Plays — The Bears will need Mitch Trubisky as a runner and thrower in this game.
Simply put, Mitch will have to make or create some plays for the Bears to win this game. Last week he put together a great stat line albeit against the lowly Browns. We will see if he is able to build off of last week’s experience but make no mistake it will be extremely difficult. The Vikings as noted are tremendous defensively. The Bears come in with the same nothing at wide receiver and tight end but with the caveat of a battered offensive line. Both Bobbie Massie and Josh Sitton are doubtful for the game and Adam Shaheen is questionable.
Mitch has not had much to work with all season so if he can make any big plays happen it bodes well for his development as a QB and for the Bears trying to beat the Vikings.
Defense Has to Make a Play — The Bears will need all of the Vikings help in order to pull off the upset on Sunday. Without some mistakes from the Vikings it seems the Bears will not be able to pull off a victory. There may be one weakness that the Bears can exploit as the Vikings lost their starting RG last week and may be without their starting center.
If the Bears front seven can dominate the play in the trenches and get pressure on Case Keenum then maybe a few turnovers go the Bears way. Case Keenum has been great not turning the ball over all season, he only has seven interceptions and one fumble. Regardless, the Bears need an impressive effort from its defense otherwise they will most likely be no match for this talented Vikings team.
Play Like There’s No Tomorrow — Simply put, there is no tomorrow for the Chicago Bears. However they would like to go out this season will happen on Sunday. Though the Vikings have something to play for, they have a tomorrow and are in the playoffs no matter what.
The Vikings will of course be taking this game very seriously but if the old adage is true that football is 90% mental then the Bears need to show it. If the Bears aren’t the hungrier, angrier, more disciplined team on Sunday then the outcome may look similar to the entirety of the 2017 Chicago Bears season.
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