The Bears have been away from Soldier Field for the past two weeks, but coach Matt Nagy is counting on a big homecoming.
With the Minnesota Vikings coming to Chicago Sunday, Nagy is looking for every possible advantage. That includes turning to the fans to replicate the roar they created during the first 15 minutes of the season opener against Green Bay.
"We're really going to need those fans out there for us, making it that 12th man and helping us out–especially when we're on defense," Nagy told Jeff Joniak on the Bears Coaches Show on WBBM Newsradio 780 AM and 105.9 FM Tuesday evening.
The team will want all the help available. The Minnesota Vikings will be the best team that the Bears have played since falling to Green Bay. The Vikings have a 2-1 record, with their lone loss also coming in a close game to the Packers.
Minnesota features a dominant defense and possibly the best running back the Bears will see all season in Dalvin Cook. Beyond that, control of the division may be on the line.
"It is a big game," Nagy said. "You know, they're all big. But we all say, these division games–you've gotta win your division games. Currently, we lost to Green Bay to start the season, so let's get back on track."
Coming off back-to-back wins where the defense remained dominant and the offense showed improvement, the Bears should be able to put on a good show for the Chicago faithful. However, Nagy believes that an intimidating crowd might be the difference.
"Just supporting our team and being there for us," Nagy said. "Just what it means to our players to have support from the fans is huge."
The fans at Soldier Field have been quite kind to Nagy. The Bears were 7-1 in regular-season games at home during his first season in Chicago.
There is, perhaps, no better example of what a crowd can do than last year's victory over the Rams. With the fans behind them, the defense held the high-flying 11-1 Rams to a mere six points last December.
Soldier Field is quickly developing a reputation because of the noise fans have generated. Nagy hopes that hostile atmosphere will continue to live in the minds of Bears opponents.