Here is a look at hypothetical propositional wagers between the Bears and Vikings.
First team to score
Bears. It’s a home game, the team is coming off two consecutive losses, they may get Jay Cutler back this week, and they’re feeling a sense of urgency.
First Bears player to score
Matt Forte. With heavy concentration on the run, mixed in with some pass plays to keep the defense honest, I could see Forte getting in the end zone early.
More touchdowns or field goals for the Bears
Field Goals. The offense is still in the midst of a struggle and until I see some marked progress, it’s hard to predict they’ll be finding the end zone a lot — especially against a competitive division rival.
Number of catches by Brandon Marshall
6. Marshall was held to just two catches last week as the combination of a good defense and the absence of Cutler clearly took its toll. Cutler may be back this week but even if he is not, Jason Campbell should have a better day and find Marshall more in zone coverage.
More touchdown passes or interceptions by Bears quarterback
Push. Cutler will see an independent neurologist on Saturday to see if he gets clearance to play on Sunday. But no matter if he or Campbell plays, I don’t see too many interceptions being thrown. The Vikings have just five interceptions on the season, second fewest in the league.
Bears quarterback sacks
4. The Bears made two switches this week along the offensive line. Chilo Rachal was benched in favor of Chris Spencer, who began the year as the starting left guard. And Gabe Carimi was replaced by Jonathan Scott at right tackle. Whether or not either of those moves has its desired effect of protecting the quarterback will remain to be seen. But the Vikings have a pair of solid defensive ends that can come after the quarterback.
More passing yards – Bears QB or Christian Ponder
Bears QB. Ponder is more of an efficient quarterback who takes care of the ball than one that will win games for the Vikings. He ranks just 25th in the NFL in passing yards. Sure, Cutler is technically ranked lower, but he’s also missed a game and a half of action. Either Cutler or Campbell should have more success against the Vikings pass defense than Ponder should have against the Bears defense.
More rushing yards – Bears or Vikings
Vikings. The Bears are facing the league’s leading rusher in Adrian Peterson while going up against a fairly stout run defense. I also think the Bears will find more success through the air, so their run total should be down.
Total rushing yards for Bears
105. Last week, Mike Tice remained committed to the run early in the game despite trailing quickly. It’s that kind of commitment to the run game that’ll be needed in order to help create openings in the pass game.
Bears run-to-pass ratio
32 run-to-30 pass. The Bears were 50/50 in the run-to-pass ratio last week but only got off 56 total plays due to their struggles and the success of the 49ers offense. I think they keep it balanced again this week with slightly more runs.
Team to win the turnover battle
Bears. The Bears have committed six turnovers in the past two weeks and haven’t been taking them away as regularly as they had earlier this season. But this is a good week to get back on track, and they’re going to need to do just that to win this game.
Total points scored
43. This should be a tight, medium-scoring game between division rivals on the lakefront.