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Joniak's Journal: Vikings Pass Rush A Concern For Bears

By Jeff Joniak-

First Impression
(CBS) -- The NFL record for points allowed in a single season is 533. It happened to the Baltimore Colts in 1981. The 1966 New York Giants are the only other team to give up more than 500, with 501. Minnesota has permitted the most points so far with 346, on pace to give up 503.

Washington (338), Jacksonville (324), the Bears (309), and Atlanta (309) comprise the only teams in the league giving up 300 or more points after 11 games. Offensively, the Patriots scored 589 points in 2007 to set the all-time record, but the Bears own the NFL record for most seasons leading the league in scoring with 10.

However, none of those have come after 1956. Right now the Bears have scored 303 points, one of only four teams north of 300 after 11 games. The Bears all-time record for points scored(456) came in 1985. The most allowed(421) by the Bears came in 1997.

Second Thought
No team in the NFL has pressured quarterbacks more than the Minnesota Vikings. Stats, Inc. has calculated 66 hurries for the Vikings. They have not always finished the job with just 24 sacks, but they've had plenty of opportunity with teams electing to throw it more than run it on the Vikings.

You don't want to awaken a sleeping giant, but Jared Allen is not my big concern Sunday, it's Brian Robison. No pass rusher has more hits and hurries combined than Robison who defines "disruptive". He's a lunch bucket grinder with no quit in him. He's deep into his 7th season, but it's only his third as a full time starter. He will give right tackle Jordan Mills all he can handle. Robison chases hard, bats down balls when he's stalemated, and changes directions well.

Third Degree
The folks at Football published a playoff odds report today. Based on their calculations the Bears are being given a narrow percentage edge of beating out the Lions for the NFC North title and entering the playoffs. The percentage chance according to FBO calculations is 43%. Detroit's chances come in at 42.9%. They have the Bears finishing with nine wins, the Lions at 8.6 based on playing out the season 50,000 times. What the report really amplifies is between the Bears, Lions, and Packers, only one is playoff bound and that's the division winner. Wildcard opportunities appear to be remote with five games to go.

4th and Short
As it turns out, the Bears the NFL's fewest third and one conversions and attempts at five and nine respectively. Only two have been converted with a run. They've converted 45.5% of their third and four or less attempts, which is third lowest in the league. Overall the Bears are six-of-ten on fourth down, above the league average. If you think the Bears go for it too often on fourth down Cleveland has done it a league high 25 times.

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