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Bears beating Vikings would be a statement game ... if they could do it
By Bob LeGere | Daily Herald Staff

Here are just two of the many reasons why it would be quite an accomplishment for the Bears to pull off an upset of the Vikings on Sunday: quarterback Brett Favre and running back Adrian Peterson.

 

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Published: 11/24/2009 12:07 AM

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There is no logical reason to think that this 4-6 Bears team, which has lost five of its last six, is going to run the table and get into the playoffs.

But a victory over the 9-1, defending NFC North champion Vikings - in Minnesota, no less - would right a lot of wrongs for one of the NFL's most disappointing teams.

"We need a win," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "So I know what a win like that would do for our program right now. They're the defending (NFC North) champs, and they're having an outstanding year."

Smith still believes the Bears are a good team, but he's having trouble convincing outsiders. A victory over the Vikings would convert some of the skeptics.

The Vikings are averaging more than 30 points a game, they have the consensus best running back in the league, and future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre is playing better at 40 than he ever has.

Defensively they're No. 3 against the run, allowing just 85.5 yards per game, and defensive end Jared Allen is second in the NFL with 101/2 sacks.

"You could go across the board and talk about all of the good things they've done," Smith said. "So, for us to be able to get a win against them - I feel like we're a good football team.

"Our record does not show that right now, but we're a good football team. Eventually we're going to do some of those things that have prevented us from winning games, so why not this week?"

Two words: Brett Favre.

The venerable one has an incredible 112.1 passer rating, best in the NFL by a good margin and 12.6 points higher than his previous best season. He has thrown 21 TD passes and just 3 interceptions.

The Bears' performance over the past five weeks against standout, veteran quarterbacks does not inspire confidence.

In the past 30 days, the Bears have been lit up by the Bengals' Carson Palmer, the Cardinals' Kurt Warner and the Eagles' Donovan McNabb.

Those three have combined to complete 79.3 percent of their passes against the Bears for 738 yards, 12 touchdowns and 1 interception.

McNabb's 101.6 passer rating was the lowest of the three. Palmer had a near-perfect 146.7, and Warner's was at 132.9. The Bears had a total of 4 sacks in those games.

Favre might have more trouble sleeping Saturday night than a child on Christmas Eve.

On the other hand, the Bears have shown the ability to contain talented quarterbacks.

They held the Packers' Aaron Rodgers to his lowest yardage total of the season (184), and the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger to his second-lowest passer rating (80.8) of the season. The Bears also had 6 sacks in those two games.

They also held the Falcons' Matt Ryan to his second-lowest yardage total (185) of the season and a mediocre 68.4 passer rating.

So, what if the Bears pull off the major upset?

"It would lift us up a lot," safety Danieal Manning said. "It definitely would prove what we're talking about, how capable this team is and how good this team is. A win over Minnesota would be great."

Especially considering that the Vikings have beaten the Bears in six of the last seven meetings at the Metrodome.

"It would be huge," tight end Greg Olsen said. "They're arguably one of the top teams in the league."

Sunday at 3:15 p.m. is the first game of what the Bears are looking at as a mini-season.

"We still have a six-game season left, a six-game schedule," cornerback Charles Tillman said. "And my advice is to watch us these last six games before you formulate an opinion."