|CHICAGO BEARS (7-8)||GAME #16||MINNESOTA VIKINGS (3-12)|
|Date:||1 January 2012 ||Location:||Minneapolis, MN|
|Time:||12:00 PM Central||Stadium:||HHH Metrodome|
DirecTV Ch. 708
|Know Thy Enemy:||Windy City Gridiron|
|Chris' Prediction:||Vikings 23, Bears 20|
|Final Score:||Bears 17, Vikings 13|
Earlier this week, the folks at Pro Football Talk drew the conclusion that there were only three meaningless games on this final weekend of the 2011 NFL season. . .and, by God, this is one of them! But, regardless of the "meaning" this game has, we're going to be here for it. . .after all, there's a (seemingly increasingly good) chance that this could be the last game in the history of the Minnesota Vikings, what with all the stadium garbage that's going on. Believe me, we'll have plenty of time to get into that in the coming weeks.
So, what do the Vikings have to do to avoid tying the worst mark in franchise history since the 16-game schedule came into play?
1) Protect Christian Ponder, Joe Webb, or whoever else winds up at quarterback - Only three teams in the NFL have allowed more sacks this season than the Vikings have, with their quarterbacks going down 47 times in the first 15 games of this season. If the Vikings want to have a shot at winning this one, they need to keep their quarterbacks upright, particularly Ponder as he's coming off of a concussion. Again.
2) Get to Josh McCown - The Vikings still owe that guy for the 2003 season finale in Arizona. With Jared Allen currently leading the National Football League in sacks and going against a suspect Bears' offensive line, the Vikings need to keep the pressure up on the Bears' third different quarterback of 2011.
3) Play hard - This team needs to put forth 100% effort in this one for a few reasons. The first is to avoid tying the 1984 Vikings for the worst record in team history. The second one is to send the great Jim Kleinsasser off with a victory. The third is that, quite frankly, there are a lot of players wearing purple today that could very well be playing for their jobs. There is going to be some serious turnover in Minnesota this off-season, and if guys don't want to be a part of that, they need to show it this afternoon.
The Minnesota Vikings have never gone 0-for-the NFC North/Central in a season before, but they run the risk of doing so this afternoon if they lose to the Bears. Yes, I know that if the Vikings lose they're guaranteed the third overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and if they win they'll likely drop to the sixth spot. Big deal. I'm tired of watching this team lose. . .you have just as good a chance of drafting a star at #6 as you do at #3, and you have just as much chance of drafting a bust at #3 as you do at #6.
Let's send big #40 out with a victory this afternoon, and try to put this whole miserable season behind us.