E Point Perfect

How Will the Bears Handle Justin Jefferson?


Oct 17, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

On Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings travel to Soldier Field, squaring off against the Chicago Bears. After being held down by star cornerback Jaire Alexander, superstar wideout Justin Jefferson must put a better foot forward. He’ll be looking for a big game, but how does Chicago look to slow him down?

It’s beyond unlikely that Justin Jefferson will catch Detroit Lions great Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving record in Week 18. He needs nearly 200 yards to do so and would need to break his franchise record in a single game if he wants to surpass 2,000 on the season. Still, with head coach Kevin O’Connell suggesting that his starters would play, that alone gives the Minnesota wideout a chance.

How Will the Bears Handle Justin Jefferson?

The Vikings haven’t seen Chicago since besting them at U.S. Bank Stadium during Week 5. In that contest, Jefferson went off for 154 yards on 12 receptions. Quarterback Kirk Cousins targeted him 13 times, and the talented wide receiver had his way with the Bears secondary. At the time, it was his second-highest yardage total of the season, and it was a substantial step forward from the lackluster performance against his first divisional opponent of the year.

How Will the Bears Handle
November 28, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into Week 18, the Bears are allowing the 13th fewest passing yards per game. While their secondary is void of any household names, they’ve certainly done their part to keep opposing offenses in check. Of course, without Justin Fields at quarterback and an offense that may struggle, the defense should be on the field plenty this week.

Over their last three games, the Bears have slid some in pass coverage. They are down to 24th in the league, and the 240 yards per game allowed is roughly 30 yards worse than where they have been at one the season. The Bears enter this one, having given up at least 25 points in nine straight games. They surrendered 41 last week to the Detroit Lions and gave up 35 the week prior against the Buffalo Bills. Although Minnesota may not have quite as prolific of an offense, there is no reason to think they can’t do damage.

Justin Jefferson in Week 18 Could Get Dicey
Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports.

We have seen the Vikings fail to beat the first two opponents they have faced twice this season. Jefferson was held in check by the Packers a week ago, but it was the Lions during Week 14, where he put up a franchise record 223 yards. Chicago’s field conditions won’t be that of Detroit’s, and maybe this time, Minnesota players will equip themselves better from a grip standpoint, but there should be an opportunity, given the quality of the opponent.

Maybe the Bears want little more than to lose this game and move onto their offseason while looking at draft positioning. Regardless, there are still competitors on the opposite side of the line. I’d imagine no one in Chicago’s secondary wants to allow Jefferson an opportunity to waltz over Johnson’s record.

The Vikings Top Players from Best to Worst: After Week 15
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

If Chicago is playing for anything this week, and it doesn’t have to come in the win column, it’s likely the pride in knowing they would be the ones to hold Jefferson down. It will be tough for the offense to produce behind Nathan Peterman, but the secondary will have all eyes on Minnesota’s top wideout, and they may just tell K.J. Osborn or Adam Thielen to feast instead.

Jefferson should have his opportunities, but the Bears aren’t going to let it be easy.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.


Source link

Related posts

Manufactured Controversy Aimed at Vikings QB for 2nd Day in a Row

11 Days before Training Camp, Kyle Rudolph Open to Vikings Reunion

Hall of Fame Snubs Jim Marshall Again

Falcons Add Former Vikings Defender

The Top 6 Eagles Players the Vikings Will See on MNF

What Difference Does Dalvin Tomlinson Make?