Sunday Night Football will show a battle for the NFC North division lead when the upstart Bears host the Vikings.
Minnesota went out and spent big money to get their quarterback in veteran Kirk Cousins. Despite a suspect offensive line, Cousins has mostly played to his contract, racking up points and statistics as expected.
Chicago pays considerably less for their second-year passer, Mitchell Trubisky. Rookie head coach Matt Nagy is growing his quarterback into his offensive game plan, expanding the selection of plays each week.
NFL Week 11 Game Preview: Vikings (5-3-1) at Bears (6-3)
Trubisky comes into Week 11 with a quarterback rating of 101.6. That is just 0.6 points lower than the Vikings’ Cousins.
Neither head coach is completely satisfied with their offensive output so far. Matt Nagy continues to add new twists and move different players into featured roles. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer knows his offensive line woes and the lingering injury to Dalvin Cook have kept his offense from reaching its potential.
Now that Cooks is back on the field, Minnesota could be without wideout Stefon Diggs, who is dealing with a rib injury.
Zimmer is more concerned with his defense, telling reporters he’s never had a pass defense look so bad in his career. Since that statement, the Vikings have made some adjustments. While their numbers look much better, the only real test came against the Saints who put up 30 points.
Coming off a bye week, it will be interesting to see how the Vikings defense does against a confident Bears offense coming off a big win in Detroit.
Injuries and notes:
Minnesota only lists Diggs on their injury report, meaning Cooks is expected to play without limitations. Diggs says he will be on the field, too. The team has not made an announcement yet.
Chicago also has a short injury list, naming only tight end Dion Sims as questionable.
Mike Zimmer has been around long enough to realize his signature defensive attack hasbeen replicated enough that offenses made the necessary adjustments to beat it.
It was insightful to hear Zimmer tell reporters how the Vikings need to tweak their defensive strategy to keep ahead of opponents. It is that quickness to recognize and adapt that keeps coaches employed.
Matt Nagy’s offense started off slow, but over the past few weeks, it has looked like what Chicago fans hoped for when they brought the former Kansas City offensive coordinator into the Windy City.
What is scary is that there is another half a season for Nagy to add to the repertoire of Trubisky and company.
How to watch the Bears-Vikings game
NBC Sports will televise this matchup nationally as part of its Sunday Night Football package. Most American fans will flip on their overpriced satellite or cable-contracted televisions to watch the game.
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Who will win the Bears-Vikings game?
Chicago’s offense is getting a lot of attention, but it is Khalil Mack and the Bears defense that make the team a playoff contender. Mack and his teammates will try to disrupt the Vikings attack enough to let Trubisky pull out another victory.
But Kirk Cousins has shown the ability to avoid rushes and make plays under pressure all season. Even if Diggs is slowed by his injury, Adam Thielen is still out there to catch the ball like he’s done all year. Zimmer’s experience and adjustments to his defense might be the deciding factor.
Final score: Vikings 26, Bears 21