Print and Go Back ESPN.com: 2007 [Print without images]

Monday, December 17, 2007
Salisbury: Can the Bears stop the run this time?

By Sean Salisbury
ESPN

Every Monday, ESPN football analyst Sean Salisbury provides his picks and keys to the game for ESPN PlayCaller. Want to put Sean's advice to work? Think you know better? Join now and let's see what you've got.

Predictions

Quarterback with most passing yards: Kyle Orton
The Bears are going to have a tough time running the ball on the Vikings. On attempts alone, Orton will lead in yardage. The Bears will try and build his confidence early with short passes.

Quarterback with most touchdown passes: Tarvaris Jackson
Jackson has played well the past couple weeks. Working off play-action, I look for him to have at least one touchdown pass, and maybe two of 'em.

Running back with most yards: Adrian Peterson (Min.)
Rookie of the year! Peterson is the best pure runner in the game right now. The Bears will have a tough time stopping him tonight; he gets lots of yards on minimal carries.

Running back with most touchdowns: Adrian Peterson (Min.)
Adrian will be rewarded for his hard work with at least one short-yardage touchdown run.

Wide receiver with the most receiving yards: Bernard Berrian
The Bears will need to pass, pass, pass if they want to win tonight. I look for them to go over the top with Berrian.

Most field goals: Robbie Gould
I don't believe the Bears will have many opportunities in the red zone to score touchdowns, which will lead to multiple opportunities for Gould. The order of the night for the Bears will be field goals.

First player to score a touchdown: Chester Taylor
Look for Taylor to score first tonight on a short-yardage catch.

First team to score a touchdown: Minnesota Vikings
The first of a handful of 'em.

Keys to the game for the Bears

  1. Build Kyle Orton's confidence early
    If he can get off to a quick start with screens and short passes, the Bears might actually have a chance.

  2. Make Tarvaris Jackson beat 'em
    If the Bears let Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor run wild, this game will be over early. They'll have to load the box to stop the run.

  3. Win the special teams battle
    They have the best return man in the game right now, perhaps ever. They're indoors with no inclement weather, so they must win the field-position battle by taking advantage of Devin Hester's strength.

Keys to the game for the Vikings

  1. Run the ball!
    They must give the ball to Peterson and Taylor and make the Bears stop the run.

  2. Be effective on play-action passes
    The Bears will be keying on the run so much that the "home run" pass will be available off play-action.

  3. Stop the Bears on first down
    They can't give away the line of scrimmage on first down. They must force Orton into second-and-long and third-and-long situations to control the tempo of the game.

Sean Salisbury is an NFL analyst for ESPN.