One man's prediction: The Vikings are at home, where they are 5-1. The Bears are badly beat up, with defensive linchpin Brian Urlacher out because of a severe hamstring injury. Anybody else smell overtime coming? Chicago, which beat the Vikings 28-10 two weeks ago at Soldier Field, just seems to have just a little more firepower right now. Bears 23, Vikings 20
18 Vikings drives the past two weeks lasting five plays or fewer -- in 23 possessions. The Bears held a 15-minute advantage in Week 12. Green Bay had a 17-minute edge last week.
Devin Aromashodu, Vikings: The former Bears wide receiver has only two catches in the past seven games, but he could have a greater role in the attack this week.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Bears linebacker Lance Briggs vs. Vikings running back Adrian Peterson
Seven-time Pro Bowler has 70 tackles, two fumble recoveries, two interceptions and two touchdowns.
Aiming for a seventh consecutive 100-yard game. Needs 54 yards to top 1,500 for the second time.
Who has the edge?
Peterson's 108-yard game two weeks ago against Chicago was his most ordinary effort of the past six weeks. By far. His 7.8-yards-per- carry average since Week 6 is mind boggling.
The Vikings know all about the Jay Cutler-Brandon Marshall lovefest. Putting a lid on it is a different matter. Since returning from a concussion two weeks ago, Cutler has thrown 31 of his 57 passes Marshall's way. Two weeks ago, Marshall never hit the home run against the Vikings, but instead pecked the D to death, recording 12 catches for 92 yards. Said defensive coordinator Alan Williams: "It wasn't a big flashy ballgame, but it was effective for what they wanted to do. And we have to find a way to limit his effectiveness."
Big game talk
Christian Ponder remains the Vikings quarterback and has received nothing but patience and support from the coaching staff. Today's home crowd? Well, they might not be as tolerant. A fast start is essential. Leslie Frazier still believes Ponder has a bright future. But ... "That being said," Frazier noted, "there's a lot riding on this next ball game for our football team. I'm sure there are a lot of guys looking and wondering if we can get it done under the current situation. I believe we can."
Get to Cutler
Behind a patched-up line, the Bears have only allowed one sack in each of the past two games. They're relying heavily on tight ends and backs for protection aid while throwing a bunch of quick, short passes. So the Vikings don't expect a sack binge Sunday. But they know they have to scheme to make Cutler hold the ball. "We have to find a way to hit him and make him aware that our defense is on the field," Frazier said.