The Chicago Bears came back from their bye week a little more balanced and a little less freewheeling on offense, and beat the Buffalo Bills 22-19 in Toronto last Sunday. The running game was back, and Jay Cutler was poised and had good protection.They come home to host the Minnesota Vikings this week.
The Vikings (3-5), for many, have been the NFL story of the year. Media darling Brett Favre has been injured and re-injured, but he has still answered the bell each week -- not missing a start. Head coach Brad Childress has been under duress from the media since before the start of the season, and the Vikings' poor showing so far this season hasn't made it any easier on him. Stories of dissent, lack of respect for the head coach, and the Randy Moss rebellion have made this look like a lost season for the Vikings. Favre still had enough of his former magic to throw for 427 yards last week to beat the Arizona Cardinals in overtime.
This will be a big game for both teams. It's a conference and division game, but it's also gut-check time. The Bears need to win this game to stay with the Packers, who go into their bye week on a high note, having thrashed the Dallas Cowboys 45-7 on their Sunday night date on national television. A win would put the Bears back in a tie for first place in the NFC North.
A loss for the Vikings would all but drop them from the playoff picture entirely, and the rumblings for change in Minnesota would begin in earnest. And the Vikings have lost their last eight road games going back to last year.
We'll be keeping you up-to-date with injury reports, news, and notes all week long. Keep watching here all the way through game time.