Here is a look at hypothetical propositional wagers between the Bears and Rams.
First team to score
Bears. Lovie Smith teams have generally rebounded well from poor outings and I expect the same this Sunday at home against an inferior Rams team. I think they’ll look sharp on offense early in the game and find a way to keep Cutler upright — at least until the Rams adjust. As a side prop bet, I predict the Bears will break a string of games in which Cutler is sacked on the first offensive play of the game.
First Bears player to score
Michael Bush. I expect to see a lot of Bush (hey hey) in this one as offensive coordinator Mike Tice remembers not to neglect the run game. The Bears will get down to the red zone on a number of occasions and I think they do it early with Bush benefiting from the field position.
Number of catches by Brandon Marshall
6. Marshall was targeted 15 times for 9 catches in the season opener against the Colts and then disappeared as the Bears offense collapsed against the Packers. Expect something in the middle of that in this one as Cutler will actively try to get B-Marsh involved from the get-go.
More touchdowns or field goals for the Bears
Touchdowns. Getting into the end zone isn’t so much the problem now as moving the ball down the field was last week. The Bears have good “finishers” on offense this season — Bush on the ground and Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and Kellen Davis as red zone targets.
More touchdown passes or interceptions by Jay Cutler
Touchdowns. Call it whatever you want — choking under the bright lights, diabetes troubles at night, struggles against good teams — but Cutler has certainly had his problems in prime time games. He does, however, have a tendency to turn things around and produce against average or sub-par teams at home. He should have a bounce-back game.
Jay Cutler sacks
4. After a two-sack effort in the first game, the Bears offensive line yielded 7 sacks against the Packers. The Rams do not have as good a pass rush as Green Bay does, but I predict a total somewhere in between the first two weeks.
More passing yards – Jay Cutler or Sam Bradford
Jay Cutler. You can bet Bradford will be slinging the ball all over the field as the Rams try to play catchup, but Cutler should be efficient when he does throw the ball and I feel the Bears will have a nice pass rush going as they’ve had through the first two weeks.
More rushing yards – Bears or Rams
Bears. Considering I feel the Bears not only will be making an effort to get the ground game going early but also playing with a lead in the second half, they should be able to finish the game with more rushing yards than the Rams.
Total rushing yards for Bears
115. The Bears are averaging 104 rushing yards per game through two weeks and they should top that with a strong performance against St. Louis.
Bears run-to-pass ratio
35 run-to-33 pass. The Bears are running the ball about 44% of the time through two games, which is a nice balance. I expect them to play with the lead and have good success running against this Rams defense.
Team to win the turnover battle
Bears. After a horrible performance by Cutler and the offense last week, I feel they’ll take better care of the ball this week. And with a strong pass rush from the Bears defensive line against the Rams, expect a victory in the turnover battle.
Total points scored
40. Not quite the explosive outing we saw from the Bears in Week 1, but they should be able to find the end zone a few times with Robbie Gould pitching in some points as well. The Rams will get theirs but the Bears defense will have a fine performance.