Bears-Lions prop picks (11.13.11)

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Earl Bennett's return could mean a more balanced pass distribution and less receptions for Matt Forte.
Earl Bennett's return could mean a more balanced pass distribution and less receptions for Matt Forte.

Here is a look at hypothetical propositional wagers between the Bears and Lions.

First team to score

Bears. Given the Bears’ ability to sustain long drives that result in points as of late, I like their chances of getting on the scoreboard first against the Lions on Sunday. If they receive the opening kickoff, I feel they can take the ball down and put up at least three. If they kickoff, I think they can hold the Lions at home and get favorable field position.

First Bears player to score

Matt Forte. The Lions have the 29th-ranked run defense in the league, so I feel there is a good chance Forte can get in the end zone this week, and he might do it early on until the Lions try to find a way to adjust.

First Bears player to catch a pass

Roy Williams. It’s clear that Jay Cutler has been looking Williams’ way the past few weeks and although their numbers aren’t astronomical, Williams remains a part of the Bears’ passing game. Even with Earl Bennett back, I think Williams will get a throw his way on the first drive.

Bears player to catch most passes

Earl Bennett. We may have finally found a replacement for Forte as Cutler’s top target. Forte led the Bears in receptions nearly every week, simply as a product of Cutler having to get rid of the ball quickly. Now, with the offensive line blocking better and with the return of Cutler’s go-to guy, Bennett, I think Forte and Bennett will battle each week for that honor, with Bennett getting the nod this week.

More passing yards – Jay Cutler or Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford. If for no other reason than the Lions do not have a good backfield, Stafford should throw for more yards than Cutler in this one. Hopefully, the Bears will be up late in the game, too, and the Lions will have to throw the ball a lot.

More touchdown passes or interceptions by Jay Cutler

Interceptions. The Lions have a ball hawking defense ranked fifth in the league with 11 interceptions, generated by a defense ranked fourth in the league with 24 sacks. Cutler has had the fortune this season of not having some of his ill advised throws being intercepted, but the Lions may capitalize off those.

Jay Cutler sacks

3. The Bears prevented Cutler from being sacked last week for the first time in two seasons, and it was impressive against an Eagles defense that was one of the top sack teams in the league. If the offensive line can do it for the second time in two weeks against another of the league’s top pass rushing teams, then we’ll know there’s real progress being made.

More rushing yards – Bears or Lions

Bears. The last time the Bears faced the Lions — before they figured out their run defense — Jahvid Best scored on an 88-yard touchdown run and finished with 163 yards on the game. Best, however, is likely out for this game, leaving the team with Maurice Morris and Keiland Williams. I like Forte’s chances in this one.

Total combined rushing and receiving yards by Matt Forte

155. I think Forte could have a huge game in this one. Given the Lions’ struggles to stop the run, Forte should top 100 rushing yards and have a big day through the air as well.

Team to win the turnover battle

Lions. The Bears better hope they end up on the winning side of the turnover battle, especially if it’s a close game, but the smart money says that the Lions — who rank No. 1 in the league with a plus-13 turnover ratio — will come out ahead in this category.

Total points scored

50. The Lions and Bears have both been scoring a lot of points this year with the Bears having scored at least 24 points in four of their last five games. The weather isn’t quite cold enough yet to prevent these teams from putting up a good amount of points and I don’t think it’ll be a defensive battle.

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