The Chicago Bears’ passing offense has struggled this season, with quarterback Jay Cutler leading the league in interceptions.
To hear the Bears tell it, they don’t think it’s going to get any easier today against the Minnesota Vikings.
For starters, Bears left tackle Orlando Pace thinks he’s got a tall order ahead of him when he matches up with Vikings defensive end Jared Allen.
“Jared’s going to play hard, and he’s going to play to the whistle anyway – run, pass, whatever,” Pace said. “That’s just what he’s going to do. I don’t know if you can necessarily take him out of the game. You just have to get on him and stay on him.”
Staying on him won’t be easy for Pace: The only time Allen and Pace ever went head-to-head was a 2006 game when Allen got the better of the individual match-up, recording two sacks against the St. Louis Rams. And although he has started all 10 games this season, the 34-year-old Pace has at times shown his age, looking slower and less agile than he did a decade ago, when he was one of the league’s best left tackles.
And then there are problems for the Bears in the Vikings’ secondary, where the expected return of cornerback Antoine Winfield could give Cutler trouble as he looks for his favorite receiver, Devin Hester.
“If he’s playing, it affects things quite a bit,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said of Winfield. “He’s one of the best corners in the game. He brings an awful lot to them in terms of toughness.”
If the 4-6 Bears are going to have any hope of making the playoffs, they’re going to need to upset the Vikings today. And the Bears don’t sound very confident in their ability to move the ball against the Vikings through the air.