The Chicago Bears play their final game of the 2022 season this week against the Minnesota Vikings. Here is a preview of the game.
It seemed like just yesterday that the Chicago Bears started the 2022 season. Despite what the NFL experts predicted, fans thought this would be a better season than they’ve seen for a while.
Well, after a 2-1 start, the fans were talking about feeding those experts crow. However, they get paid to do what they do and aren’t usually wrong. Since then, the Bears have gone 1-12. They are in the midst of a nine-game losing streak.
Now the Bears play in their final game of the season. They host the Minnesota Vikings, who are in the running for the top seed in the NFC. Getting that top seed is important since only the top seed receives a first-round bye. That means Minnesota will play hard to win.
The Bears, on the other hand, only play for pride. They are playing mostly young players and those who are trying to show that they should be a part of the Chicago Bears’ latest rebuild. In fact, quarterback Justin Fields won’t play. He’s dealing with a strained hip, among other bumps and bruises. He still feels sore so the Bears shut him down. His season is already over and now he’ll heal and work to come back better in 2023.
Here is a preview of the Chicago Bears’ season finale against the Minnesota Vikings:
Look for Minnesota to come out fast and end all doubt quickly
The Vikings don’t want to play any more than they have to on Sunday. They don’t want to risk any injuries before they start their playoff run. Additionally, if they don’t get the top seed they at least want to give their players a rest before they play next week.
As a result, look to the Vikings to go all out on the Bears right away. They’ll try to overwhelm the Bears and just cruise to an easy victory.
That job is easier for them since Nathan Peterman is starting at quarterback. Minnesota doesn’t have to deal with Fields’ ability to make big plays.
Peterman will never be mistaken for Fields and he is a basic pocket quarterback. That plays into the Bears’ big weakness — the offensive line. The unit has struggled all season with injuries and last week lost two players. The Vikings will put a tremendous amount of pressure on the line and get to Peterman.
Bears will see more of Jefferson
In their first matchup in Week 5, the Chicago Bears had no answer for Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Jefferson caught 12 of the 13 passes thrown his way for 154 yards. He even completed a pass for 23 yards.
The only thing the Bears did to stop Jefferson was to stop him from getting into the end zone.
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The Bears will get to see more of Jefferson this week. Quarterback Kirk Cousins will target him a lot once again. Without any pressure from the defensive front, Cousins will have a lot of time to throw. The Bears’ secondary is also dealing with injuries so they are vulnerable there as well.
Jefferson was embarrassed by Jaire Alexander last week. He had just one catch for 15 yards. That likely ruined his chances of reaching 2,000 receiving yards. He is 229 yards short. Reaching that mark is doable but not likely.
Jefferson will want to make up for last week and will want to have a big game.
Can the defense rise to the occasion?
The defense has been under pressure for a month now. This week will be the fourth straight game that the unit faces a top-ten offense. They started out well, playing the Philadelphia Eagles. They forced three turnovers.
However, things were different in the next two games. Facing the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions, the defense gave up 76 points and 930 yards of offense.
Now, against another high-powered offense, the Chicago Bears have one more opportunity to play well. Let’s see if they rise to the occasion.
Draft position on the line
For the Chicago Bears, one of the biggest aspects that go a long way to hastening the rebuild is their draft position. Chicago finally has a first-round pick and can use it to their advantage.
Usually, the top teams in the draft are in the need of a quarterback. The Bears can use that fact to acquire more picks. There are a lot of holes on this roster. Amassing as many picks as possible helps in filling many of those holes.
In this year’s draft, general manager Ryan Poles did a great job of wheeling and dealing for picks. He turned five picks into 11. Most of the picks he traded for were late-round picks. Imagine how much he can acquire for a valuable first-round pick.
Depending on the outcome, the Bears can finish owning anywhere from the top pick to the fourth pick. The higher the pick the more Poles can garner.
Here are the scenarios: One: If the Bears lose and the Houston Texans (current owners of the top pick) win, Chicago gets the top pick. Two: If the Bears and Texans both lose, the Bears get the second pick. Three: If the Bears win, the Denver Broncos lose to the Los Angeles Chargers, and the Arizona Cardinals beat the San Francisco 49ers, then the Bears get the third pick.
The last scenario is if the Bears win, and both the Broncos and Cardinals lose, then Chicago finishes with the fourth pick.
Of course, Poles could decide to keep that first-round pick and choose a prospect who could be a difference-maker. Remember, he had two second-round picks in this year’s draft that he kept. He could have traded one or both of them to acquire even more picks but decided to stand pat.
Whatever happens, after this week the Chicago Bears will have an eventful offseason. It could be one of the most pivotal offseasons in franchise history.
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