4th and Goal(s): Do Or Die In Minny With Playoff Chances On The Brink

By Ryan Bukowiecki (@ryanbski)

Oh, how quickly things can change in the NFL. Before this past weekend the Chicago Bears looked utterly disappointing and bound for a potential top ten finish for the 2021 NFL Draft, but one lively performance later and scheduling’s fate presents an opportunity this week against Minnesota where an honest fight for (slim) playoff lives will take place.

The Vikings took down the Bears at Soldier Field on Monday Night Football back in Week 10. That prior match-up was a close one, but the Bears were in the midst of their six-game losing streak and hardly in any shape to fight, even with playoff-affecting stakes already emerging from that game.

As the Vikings did enough to edge out a win in the previous match, that result turned out to be crucial for this game to mean anything for Minnesota, who has only gone 2-2 in the weeks since. Overall, 2020 has seen shaky play throughout for both these 6-7 teams and there’s no reason to not expect some wildly inconsistent play to emerge even in this all-important contest. Likely, this one won’t be pretty, but a lot of heart should be exhibited in what should be a tight game throughout all four quarters.

So what do the Bears need to do in order to get a victory? Take a look below.

Remember to visit WARR on Anchor, WARR Media’s podcast platform, for the audio version of 4th and Goal(s), featuring more detailed breakdowns of each game’s talking points.

1st Goal

Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

Is Mitch the Man? — Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has been playing much better in his return to starting at the position. The job is his throughout the remainder of this season and the possibility of him even coming back next season is once again in play. If that talk is going to continue then Trubisky needs to keep up his recent decent performing against a bad Vikings defense.

2nd Goal

Don’t Let Cook Cook — Under Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer the Vikes have been all about running the football and defense. In a year where they haven’t been scaring anyone with their defense, Dalvin Cook has turned up the rush attack to a degree not seen since Adrian Peterson in his prime. The Bears have proven that they can slow down Cook, but even more may need to be done in this game, its a major key for Chicago to have any success Sunday.

3rd Goal

Takeaway Differential — Both of these teams are particularly bad at taking away the football. Will something give in this game? It very well could as both teams will trot out QBs that can feature problems securing the ball. In general, when teams are as evenly matched as the Bears and Vikings then their games come down to taking care of the football.

4th Goal

Mistake Free — This game feels like it will come down more to not making mistakes rather than making plays. A big emphasis has to be on executing the little things associated with winning football — no penalties, ball security, coaching adjustments and situational execution. Whichever side applies those qualities will play more sound football than they have for most of 2020 and they’ll be in position to get the win on Sunday.

Ryan Bukowiecki covers the Chicago Bears and professional football for WARR

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