Stage set for Bears-Vikes battle

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After a week of dissecting the matchups and breaking down tape, the Chicago Bears try to make a statement in a key NFC North showdown with the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field.

The 6-3 Bears can establish themselves as the divisional favorite heading into the regular season’s final month with a victory. However, the 5-3-1 Vikings are the NFC North’s defending champions and may be hitting their stride after some early season stumbles.

The defense will take center stage Sunday evening when the Bears stingy attack unit faces a Minnesota offeense loaded with playmakers. With Kirk Cousins at the helm, the Vikings can score quickly, either on the ground or through the air. Dalvin Cook, Stefon Diggs, and Adam Thielen are a trio of potent weapons that will challenge a Chicago defense that appears to have regained its edge, particularly with OLB Khalil Mack back in the lineup.

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On the other side of the ball, the Bears offense hopes to build on last week’s strong performance in a 34-22 win onver Detroit. QB Mitch Trubisky completed 23 of 30 (76.7 pct.) for career-high 355 yards with 3 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 148.6 rating & had rush TD last week. Aims for 3rd in row at home with 2+ TD passes & 100+ rating. Aims for 3rd in row vs. division with rush TD. Is 1 of 2 NFL QBs in 2018 (CAM NEWTON) with 100+ rating (101.6), 300+ rush yards (320) & 3+ rush TDs (3).

Trubisky faces a Vikings defense that is experienced, physical, and savvy. Minnesota recorded franchise-record 10 sacks in Week 9. DE Danielle Hunter had 9 tackles, career high 3.5 sacks & 32-yard FR-TD in Week 9 & became 2nd player with 3.5+ sacks & TD in single game s

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ince 1982. Aims for his 5th in row on road with sack. Has 5.5 sacks & 2 FRs in his past 5 vs. division. Ranks 2nd in NFL with 11.5 sacks. DT Tom Johnson had career-high 2.5 sacks in Week 9. S Harrison Smith has 3 INTs in his past 5 at Chi.

In what figures to be a hard-fought contest, all eyes will be on Bears K Cody Parkey, who struggled mightily last week. Though Chicago stuck with him, Parkey, who practiced under the lights at Soldier Field earlier in the week, can’t afford another bad outing.

Win or lose, the Bears face a quick turnaround with Thursday’s Thanksgiving day matinee against Detroit fast approaching.

Bear Tracks: RB Jordan Howard has 427 scrimmage yards (106.8 per game) & rush TD in 4 career games vs. Min. Had career high 202 scrimmage yards (153 rush, 49 rec.) & rush TD in 10/31/16 meeting….RB Tarik Cohen had rush TD last week. Has TD in 5 of his past 6. Aims for his 5th in row at home & his 3rd in row at home vs. division with TD… • WR Allen Robinson had 6 receptions for 133 yards & 2 TDs in Week 10. Has 4 TD catches in his past 4. Has 3 rec. TDs in his past 3 at home…Rookie WR Anthony Miller had 5 receptions for career-high 122 yards & TD last week. Aims for his 3rd in row at home with rec. TD. Ranks 2nd among NFL rookies with 4 TD catches… • LB KHALIL MACK had 2 sacks last week. Had sack in only career meeting (11/15/15 with Oak.). In his past 3 vs. NFC North, has 4 sacks, FF, FR & 27-yard INT-TD…Rookie LB ROQUAN SMITH had 10 tackles, sack & PD in Week 10. Aims for his 3rd in row with 10+ tackles & 3rd in row vs. division with sack… CB PRINCE AMUKAMARA had 8 tackles, INT & career-high 2 FFs last week.

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