Bears-Packers prop picksSeptember 23rd, 2011 - 7:00 am
Here is a look at hypothetical propositional wagers between the Bears and Packers.
First team to score
Packers. The Bears have started with the ball in each of the first two games this season, which is sort of a rarity considering Lovie Smith’s teams have traditionally preferred to start games on defense. The offense scored a field goal on its first possession against the Falcons and a touchdown on the second drive against the Saints, so you have to feel good about the way the offense has begun games. Unfortunately, I think the Packers offense is so good that I expect they’ll score first in this game.
First Bears player to score
Robbie Gould. After last week’s debacle in the second half and the team’s inability to protect Jay Cutler, it may take the Bears a quarter or more to shake off the rust. I think Gould has a much better chance to get on the board before the Bears can get in the end zone.
First Bears player to catch a pass
Devin Hester. Most of the blame for the Bears’ struggles in the pass game last week can be attributed to the offensive line, but the wide receivers earned their fair share of criticism. Devin Hester and Johnny Knox are not go-to receivers and they aren’t the safety valves that players like Roy Williams and Earl Bennett are. But considering the beating that Cutler took against the Saints, I could see the Bears opening the game with a “safe” pass in what is commonly referred to as a confidence builder. Maybe it’s a screen pass or maybe it’s a quick out.
Bears player to catch most passes
Matt Forte. Forte is well on his way to leading the team in receptions this year unless the offensive line starts blocking better and giving Cutler more time to get the ball down the field to receivers. Forte has 15 receptions through two games and he’s the odds-on favorite to lead the team in receptions once again this week.
More passing yards – Jay Cutler or Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers. Nothing against Cutler, but this matchup is tailor-made for Rodgers. The Bears will look to stop the run and their zone coverage will invite Rodgers to eat up the secondary unless the front four gets pressure on him. The Top-3 quarterback in the league will rack up more than 350 yards in this game.
More touchdown passes or interceptions by Jay Cutler
Push. The Packers finished second in the league in 2010 with 24 interceptions. Their secondary is opportunistic even without free safety Nick Collins, who was lost for the year. It’s not just interceptions Bears fans have to worry about; if Cutler keeps sustaining sacks, the probability of him fumbling it increases. I expect Cutler to have a rebound game and take advantage of a defense that has given up an average of 400 passing yards per game through the first two weeks, most in the NFL.
Jay Cutler sacks
5. This is a new category I’ve added for Week 3 of my prop picks because it’ll be a long, interesting ride this season. The Packers are fourth in the league with seven sacks and Cutler, sadly, is the most-sacked quarterback after two weeks with 11. This could be another struggle for Cutler and the offensive line.
More rushing yards – Matt Forte or James Starks
James Starks. I don’t like to toot my own horn, but last week my crystal ball was crystal clear as I wrote in this particular proposition: “I have a bad feeling that Mike Martz will either forget about the run game at some point in the game or be forced to neglect it by necessity if playing from behind.” If only I could have that clear a vision in all my predictions, I could strike it rich. This week I see the Bears paying more attention to the run game but I feel Starks will break a few big runs to give him the edge over Forte.
Total combined rushing and receiving yards by Matt Forte
150. Forte is currently second in the league behind only Carolina’s Steve Smith with 324 total yards. He’s averaging 162 yards per game and I don’t have any reason to believe he can’t come close to that mark again. Given the caliber of the opponent, I expect the totals to take a small dip, but somewhere in the neighborhood of 75-85 rushing yards and around 70 receiving yards seems attainable.
Team to win the turnover battle
Bears. I don’t know if I’m using my head or my heart in this prediction but I’m going to go with the Bears to win the turnover battle, and if they do, it means they have a shot to win the game. The Bears have recorded four takeaways through two weeks and they know the importance of getting turnovers. I don’t know if it’s the rivalry or the level of competition, but the Bears always seem to pick up the defense against the Packers and I think it’ll work out to their benefit.
Total points scored
51. I don’t expect the Bears to have as much trouble scoring as they did last week in the Superdome. The Packers, having one of the best offenses in the league, will put points on the scoreboard with regularity and the Bears should be able to keep up with them.