For the 3rd week in a row, your Chicago Bears will face a quarterback that doesn’t necessarily inspire fear in opposing defensive coordinators. Vikings QB Kirk Cousins has long been considered one of leagues biggest question marks. Dating back to 2015, you never knew what to expect from Cousins on a game to game basis. His career record (36-38-2) and stats compare very close to everyone’s favorite E! realty star, Bruce Jenner Jay Cutler Cavalerri. So far this season, Cousins is doing what Cousins does; which is managing games, completing a great percentage of his passes, and staying healthy. On the other hand, he is turning the ball over far too much in addition to not throwing for big yards (98 yards Week 1). The latter two reasons as somewhat surprising because Cousins was very good last year, and I thought he was poised for an even bigger year this time around. Cousins’ very respectable 2018 stats are the type of numbers that Bears fans would cream themselves for:
• QBR 100.9
• Comp % 70.7%
• Yards 4,166
• TD/Int 29/10
To take this a step further, last season, Cousins was at the league average or above in 11 of 12 passer rating yardages, including a ridiculous 139.2 rating on passes over 20 yards to the right side. If the Vikings run game gets stuffed early, look for him to attack this area on Sunday:
Now that you’ve seen how good Kirk Cousins can be and why the Vikings paid him $84M over three years, let’s dive deeper into his play this season, which could generously be described as a shit-show. Take a quick look at his current 2019 numbers when projected over the entire season:
• Comp % 58.7%
• Yards 2,677
• TD/Int 16/11
Additionally, Cousins has put the ball on the carpet four times thus far this season. Now, I am not a quarterback coach or a GM or a team president, but even I know that fumbling the ball 1.3 times per game isn’t going to make too many people in the Vikings organization happy when you are making $28M per season (AAV) or $1.75M per game.
One would think that Cousins’ numbers will continue to trend downward when he faces the Bears, but don’t be so sure. The Bears are ranked in the middle of the pack in passing yards against with just over 245 yards per game. Keep in mind that of the 735 total yards given up in the passing game, 532 of those yards came against two guys named Joe Flacco and Case Keenum – that’s not exactly the ’27 Yankees of quarterback talent right there. On Sunday, I fully expect the Bears to limit the Vikings running game, which may open up some chances for Cousins to hit on some one-on-ones down the field – if he has time. If.
Where Will Cousins Attack the Bears?
I once had a good buddy who would call the “Bears” “Beers”, like, “Hey dude, how annoying are the ’85 Beers?” I’m not sure what this has to do with anything but I just thought of it, so….Any who, like the Bush family, Cousins has made a living on the right side this season, throwing the ball to left only 18 times as opposed to 33 throws to the right. Don’t be surprised if you see Eddie Jackson and Prince Amukamara solely on that side of the field.
And With What Soldiers Will He Attack?
The Vikings have one of the more talented receiving corps in the league; they just don’t have the quarterback to get them the ball on a consistent basis. Adam Thielen is Cousins favorite target, but don’t sleep on Stefon Diggs. Both guys are averaging over 15 yards per catch and have game breaking speed; if Cousins is to have a big day, one or both guys will have to get off.
Outside of the wide receivers, Cousins looks to Dalvin Cook often; in fact, more than TE Kyle Rudolph at this point in the season. Cook has nine catches for 79 yards thus far and has earned the trust of Cousins to the point that he is getting the second most targets on the team. With the amount of attention that will be paid to Cook in the running game, don’t be surprised to see him on more than one chip screens.
So, What Does All This Mean?
As I said, the Bears will make stopping the run game priority #1. This will give Cousins the opportunity to take a few shots downfield and ultimately, become the reason why the Vikings win or lose.
Vikings 14. Bears 6