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Open Thread, Bears at Vikings

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
Minneapolis, Minnesota

First off, apologies for the fact that the Bears helmet above looks different from every other helmet I've used to this point in the season. The reason for that is simply due to the fact that I suck at using graphics programs, and can't just use the "mirror" function on Paint Shop Pro to flip the Bears' helmet the other way. Why? Because the "C" on the helmet ends up backwards. I'm not about to disrespect their fans by throwing a helmet with a backwards logo on it.

Add in the fact that I have NO artistic ability (you know those "Art Instruction Schools" you see advertised at 2:30 in the morning? THEY laughed at my drawing ability), and I had to get my Bears helmet from somewhere else.

When we play AT Soldier Field, this maladay will be fixed. In the meantime, if there are any Bears fans out there that are seriously offended by this. . .well, it is what it is, and I do what I can do.

Now, on to the game, this should be as physical a contest as the Vikings play all year. The Bears defense is very good, just as it is every year, and their offense appears to be on track this year as well. Granted, they played against two teams that, to put it mildly, blow. . .but 30 points a game in the NFL is still impressive.

As I mentioned to the folks over at Windy City Gridiron, there are two main keys for the Vikings today. The first one is that they have to keep the Bears' running game under control. If they can force the Bears into 2nd or 3rd and long, I don't think Grossman will have as easy a time converting those against Minnesota as he had against Green Bay and Detroit.

Which leads to the other key. . .the Vikings need to keep getting off the field on third down. So far this year, the Vikings are allowing teams to convert 3rd downs at about a 27% rate (7 allowed in 27 3rd downs faced). That's a welcome change from what we Viking fans are used to seeing out of this defensive unit. If the Purple can continue doing that, then they stand a very good chance this afternoon.

However, as optimistic as I try to be as a Vikings fan. . .something just isn't sitting right with me about today's game. I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but I'm just not feeling it.

Gonzo's Final Score Prediction: Bears 17, Vikings 13

But hey. . .I'll take 2-1 after a 3-game stretch where even the most optimistic of prognosticators (among the "experts," anyway) probably didn't have us any better than 1-2, and most probably had us at 0-3. I said earlier on that I was hoping the Vikes could get through the first 8 games at 4-4 so they could take advantage of a weak second-half schedule. They only need 2 more wins to accomplish that.

But don't get me wrong. . .I'll be absolutely freaking THRILLED if the Vikes manage to pull this one out today.