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Saturday, November 24, 2012
Week 12 Nuts & Bolts: Bears vs. Vikings

By Michael C. Wright

CHICAGO BEARS vs. MINNESOTA VIKINGS

When: Noon Sunday | TV: FOX
RADIO: 780 AM, WBBM & 105.9 FM; WLEY (107.9 FM)

Julius Peppers
Julius Peppers and the Bears have had success forcing interceptions while in the four-man rush.

CHICAGO BEARS (7-3)



Coach: Lovie Smith | Record including playoffs: 81-63

Career record (including playoffs) vs. Leslie Frazier: 3-0 | Career record vs. Vikings: 10-6

Last week: Lost to San Francisco 49ers 32-7.

Key stat:In their seven victories this season, the Bears intercepted a pass once in every 15.2 opponent attempts when utilizing a four-man pass rush, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Yet in the three losses, Chicago generated only one interception on 58 attempts with its four-man pass rush.

Offense rank: 30th (299.3 ypg) | Defense rank: fifth (311.9 ypg).
Brandon Marshall
Brandon Marshall has been targeted 14 times in the red zone this season.

Offensive leader: Brandon Marshall leads the Bears with 14 red-zone targets, while no other receiver on the roster has been targeted more than four times in the red zone, according to ESPN Stats & Information. When throwing to Marshall, Bears quarterbacks complete 64.3 percent of their passes in the red zone for five touchdowns. Yet they’ve hit just 56.3 percent of throws to the rest of the receivers in the red zone with just two TDs.

Defensive leader: Cornerback Charles Tillman, who ran back an interception 22 yards for a touchdown the last time these teams met, leads the NFL with seven forced fumbles and is tied for the league lead with two INTs returned for touchdowns. Tillman has scored a franchise-high seven TDs on interception returns, and is one of two players since 1991 to generate 30 or more interceptions and 30 or more forced fumbles.

STREAKS



• The Bears have won four of their last five against NFC opponents.

• The Bears have defeated Minnesota in five consecutive games, which ranks as the longest winning streak by either team in this series since the Vikings captured six in a row from 1992-94. The current streak ranks as Chicago’s longest since winning six straight from 1983-86.

Tim Jennings picked off a pass in his last game against the Vikings and has posted an INT in three of his last five against NFC North opponents.

Robbie Gould has connected on 10 consecutive field goals from distances of 50 yards or more dating back to 2010, which is one shy of the NFL record of 11 in a row by Tony Zendejas (1988-93).

MINNESOTA VIKINGS (6-4)


Coach: Leslie Frazier | Record: 12-20

Career head-to-head record vs. Smith: 0-3 | Career record vs. Bears: 0-3

Last week: Defeated the Detroit Lions 34-24.

Key stat: The Vikings are 17-6 in games coming off a bye week since 1990, which includes the club’s last win at Soldier Field When Adrian Peterson rushed for 224 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie in 2007.

Offense rank: 20th (340.9 ypg) | Defense rank: 13th (340.7 ypg).
Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson has proved that he's as strong as ever after last season's ACL injury.

Offensive leader: Running back Adrian Peterson leads the NFL with 1,128 rushing yards, which is just 100 yards fewer than the combined output of all seven Chicago rushers this season. Peterson is tied for second in the NFL with seven rushing TDs and has gained 100 yards or more in four consecutive games.

Defensive leader: Defensive end Jared Allen broke the franchise single-season sack record in 2011 (22 sacks), and posted a season-high 3.5 sacks the last time the Vikings faced the Bears. Since coming into the league in 2004, Allen has posted 112 sacks, which ranks as the most of any player during that span.

STREAKS



• After posting at least one sack in six consecutive games, Allen has been held to no sacks in two straight. He hasn’t gone three games in a row without at least half a sack since 2010.

• The Vikings have lost four in a row and 10 of their last 11 at Soldier Field.

Christian Ponder has thrown an interception in five of his last six games, in addition to absorbing multiple sacks in five straight.

Chad Greenway has posted double-digit tackles in two of his last three games.

• Peterson has rushed for a touchdown in four consecutive games