Vikings are on their longest win streak of the year after beating the Cardinals to go 1 and 4 on the year.  The good news is the Vikings didn’t just win, they won big, and perhaps even built up some momentum going into week 6 where they will head to the windy city, which I assume means that the o-line can be blown over by a slight breeze.  Here are the 5 major factors for this upcoming divisional game on Sunday night.

5. A Couple of big plays.  Last week, early in the first quarter the Vikings got the big plays when they needed them, which clearly went a long way to that 28-0 first quarter.  Also last week, the Bears gave up a handful of big plays, and that went a long way to their loss.  If the Vikings and Bears can replicate last weeks play, then perhaps the Vikings can come out on top once again, and double their win streak.

4. Blocking up front/Urlacher.  The Bears D has been weak, their only bright spot of course comes up front.  If the Vikings can keep them in check, as well as future hall-of-famer MLB Brian Urlacher it will go a long way to the Vikings run game being successful.  As we learned last week, the pass game can be relatively unimportant as long as they can keep AP upright and let him work his magic against a weak group of secondary players.  Thus keeping McNabb’s role relatively unimportant and keep the Vikings on the winning end of this division rivalry for the first time in Chicago since 2007.

3. McNabb Managing the game.  People can say whatever they would like about McNabb and his play, but let’s face it, he’s doing one thing really well.  He’s not turning the ball over.  I agree with what Head Coach Leslie Frazier said this week that he needs to play a little less conservative.  Although, I do believe that his pull back/half throw to TE Visanthe Shiancoe last week was not at all upsetting, despite the boos.  Sure he may have completed it, but when he slipped, he may have also thrown an interception.  Which may have given the Cardinals a motivation boost and a shot at being back in the game.  Him throwing the incomplete there is fine, and far better than an INT.  He needs to continue to focus on what he is doing and not the fans booing him, and just continue to manage the game.

2. Keeping Hester/Forte in check.  The Bears have struggled this season.  With the exception of Running back Matt Forte.  The Vikings need to stop him and stop him early.  Force Jay Cutler to make throws he hasn’t been all that comfortable making this season.  That does not mean that Forte is done though, because he has been a big part of their passing game.  Which means that Henderson, Henderson, and Greenway have to watch him closely, let one of the receivers be the guy Cutler has to look for, not Forte.  Hester hasn’t been the explosive offensive play maker that Chicago was hoping he would become, but he has still been lethal on Special Teams.  The Vikings will have to watch for him to be dynamic at times, and do their best to keep him in check.  Which may, more often than not, mean punting out-of-bounds, and squib kickoffs to keep the ball out of his hands. 

1. Brian Robison Going off.  Let’s face it, Jared Allen is the best DE on the team, possibly even the league, and the Bears are struggling up front.  Jared Allen will probably have 2 sacks, but they will be using extra protection against him, and wisely so.  The Bears can’t block with more than 6 guys every time, which will mean that Brian Robison will have some one-on-one situations against an equally weak right tackle.  If he can come in and at least match Jared Allen’s numbers, Cutler will be rattled and not be nearly as effective as he has been in the past against the Vikings.

As most of my viewers will note, I didn’t say blitz as a key this week.  The Vikings need to blitz early to get Cutler really rattled and then just bring the strong 4 man front.  I didn’t say that as a key this week, because it probably won’t happen since their O-line is so weak, so I didn’t mention it.  My call for the week is that the Vikings win 22-17, the bears make a comeback, but Jared Allen and Brian Robison rattle Cutler too much in the final drive so the Vikings can hold onto the win.

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