It’s the NFC North’s version of worst versus first as Chicago hosts Minnesota tonight. The NFL is concerned that viewership is down, especially for Monday Night Football broadcasts, but they have no idea why. You’d think a division rivalry like this would get folks tuning in, but who knows? At least you are here and joining in the conversation as you watch the game. So let’s get to it...
QB Jay Cutler has missed five games due to a thumb injury, but he’s expected to start tonight, and is excited to get back on the field as noted in this quote from chicagobears.com:
Stepping up to the podium Tuesday for his first press conference in six weeks, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler jokingly told reporters that he had missed them.
Everyone in the room who chuckled at the thought knew that Cutler missed quarterbacking the Bears offense a whole lot more. Fortunately, the 11-year NFL veteran was cleared by doctors over the weekend to return to action after missing five starts with a sprained right thumb.
"The whole not-speaking thing I was fine with," Cutler said. "The not-playing thing was the difficult part because it's out of your control. A lot of the game is out of your control. [Backup] Brian [Hoyer] did a good job, but I wanted to be out there."
Barring a setback, Cutler is expected to start Monday night's home game against the Vikings. That day will mark exactly six weeks since he was injured in a Monday night loss to the Eagles.
It will be interesting to see if Jay Cutler can help reverse the season trajectory for the Bears, but he’ll have a really tough time doing that tonight against what could be one of the best defensive units in NFL history.
A lot of people wrote the Vikings off after they lost two of their best offensive players in Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson, but the defense has shut down opponents with a dominance that could be etched into record books.
Heading into Week 8, a panel of ESPN Insiders debated on a number of topics, including which NFL team holds the league’s strongest unit.
Matt Bowen said he’d give the award to the Vikings defense, despite Minnesota suffering its first loss of the season at Philadelphia last Sunday. Bowen wrote:
This unit under [Head Coach] Mike Zimmer continues to create panic and turnovers. Through six games, the Vikings are holding opposing quarterbacks to a ridiculously low Total QBR (25.6), and Minnesota is tied with Seattle at the top of the NFL for points allowed per game (14.0). They have a dynamic mix of extremely smart coaching and versatile talent at all three levels of the field. That's tough to plan against.
The Vikings may have lost last week in Philly, but I don’t see them losing tonight against a 1-5 team in Chicago. Maybe Cutler will be their gunslinger boogieman on Halloween?
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