Here is a look at hypothetical propositional wagers between the Bears and Cowboys.
First team to score
Cowboys. On the road, in prime time, against a pretty good Cowboys team spells trouble for the Bears offense early in the game. Unless the Bears defense comes out with an inspired effort and gives the offense a chance to strike first, I see the Cowboys drawing first blood, probably by a field goal.
First Bears player to score
Robbie Gould. There’s not a whole lot of historical evidence to make me feel good about a strong offensive performance from the Bears in this one, hence, I feel Gould will get the first points for the Bears.
More touchdowns or field goals for the Bears
Field Goals. The Cowboys have the No. 1-ranked defense and the Bears are No. 6. This ought to be a low-scoring, defensive slugfest.
Number of catches by Brandon Marshall
5. Marshall rebounded last week after a rough outing against the Packers in Week 2, but he’s still becoming the focal point of defenses and it’s making it more difficult for Jay Cutler to get him the ball. If they need to force-feed him, the Bears will. But Marshall should show up on Monday night.
More touchdown passes or interceptions by Jay Cutler
Interceptions. It’s a prime time game and Cutler does not have a good history in these situations. This is a strong wager at this point.
Jay Cutler sacks
5. The Cowboys have some strong edge rushers including linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who is fourth in the league with four sacks. It’s not just Cutler who struggles under the lights, after all. The offensive line will have its hands full, too.
More passing yards – Jay Cutler or Tony Romo
Tony Romo. Both Cutler and Romo have had their troubles with big games, but I give the edge to Romo in this one because he’s at home and has better protection up front.
More rushing yards – Bears or Cowboys
Cowboys. The Bears have one of the best run defenses in the NFL, but my hunch is that the Cowboys will be playing with the lead late in the game and thus will rack up more total rushing yards. DeMarco Murray could have and should have a big game.
Total rushing yards for Bears
100. With their backs up against the wall and a strong possibility they’ll be chasing the Cowboys late in the game, I don’t think the Bears will stay committed to the run game as much as they should.
Bears run-to-pass ratio
32 run-to-38 pass. Last week was as balanced as the Bears could possibly be, or close to it, with 34 run plays and 33 pass plays. The dilemma with this week is that the Bears need to run the ball but might be forced to pass it due to trailing on the scoreboard.
Team to win the turnover battle
Cowboys. If the Bears can sneak away with the edge in this statistical category, they have a shot at walking away from this one with the victory. But if Cutler has another erratic prime time performance, that might make it difficult.
Total points scored
50. These are two of the top defenses in the NFL, but it’s an indoor game and I expect some points to be put up on the board.