Bears-Broncos prop picks (12.11.11)

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It's the Marion Barber show from here on out until Matt Forte and/or Jay Cutler return.
It's the Marion Barber show from here on out until Matt Forte and/or Jay Cutler return.

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

First team to score

Broncos. Unless there’s a defensive or special teams score, or some kind of broken play, I don’t expect a touchdown to be the first score. So, it really comes down to which team’s offense finds itself in field goal range first. I’ll take the home team here.

First Bears player to score

Matt Prater. See above for further explanation, but the Bears offense is so anemic right now that the safer money is on the Broncos to put up the first points by way of field goal.

First Bears player to catch a pass

Johnny Knox. Knox was targeted on Caleb Hanie’s first three attempts last week against the Chiefs and he’s clearly the preferred target. He should get early looks again as Hanie tries to get into a comfort zone on the road.

Bears player to catch most passes

Devin Hester. The real question is which Bears receiver will be locked down by Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey? The most logical choice is Knox because Denver should have clear video evidence that Hanie locks onto Knox. For whatever reason, Earl Bennett isn’t targeted by Hanie, so the next guy up is Hester, who can run a lot of underneath stuff and pick up the shorter receptions.

More passing yards – Caleb Hanie or Tim Tebow

Caleb Hanie. Short but sweet: Hanie can’t throw the ball, but Tebow is worse.

More touchdown passes or interceptions by Caleb Hanie

Interceptions. Hanie has six interceptions in two games. In fairness to him, one was not his fault last week as it bounced off Roy Williams’ arms and the other came on a desperation heave as the game concluded. But as most of us expected him to improve from one game to the next, he actually looked worse and more erratic with his throws.

Caleb Hanie sacks

5. The Bears faced the worst pass rush team in the NFL last week and gave up 7 sacks to the Chiefs. Expect another onslaught this week until the offensive line and Hanie can play with some sort of cohesion.

More rushing – Bears or Broncos

Broncos. The Broncos have the No. 1 rushing offense because they run the option and hardly ever throw the ball with a quarterback who has poor mechanics and accuracy. The Bears are without Matt Forte.

Total combined rushing and receiving yards by Marion Barber

80. Barber is not going to do much in the passing game like Forte did when healthy. They will rely on him heavily, though, as they try to move the ball and create an identity without their two best offensive weapons.

Team to win the turnover battle

Broncos. I truly want to list the Bears here because I feel that’s the only way they can win, but because the Broncos don’t throw often and Tebow has only one interception on the season, that would mean the Bears would have to force more fumbles than Hanie throws interceptions, and I don’t see that happening.

Total points scored

29. Much like last week against the Chiefs, this is going to be a low-scoring, ugly performance from both teams. Unless there’s a dramatic shift in field position created by a turnover or a great return, I don’t see either of these offenses moving the ball far enough to get into the end zone much.

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