Here is a look at hypothetical propositional wagers between the Bears and Vikings.
First team to score
Vikings. It was just a small sample size and in meaningless action, but the Bears were gashed for big gains on the ground in the preseason without Brian Urlacher. I can see Adrian Peterson getting into the end zone first in this one.
First Bears player to score
Brandon Marshall. Marshall is about the team’s only strong offensive threat — at least, other than Jay Cutler. The Bears have a lot of injuries at wide receiver and Cutler could continue to zero in on his go-to guy.
More touchdowns or field goals for the Bears
Push. I expect the Bears to put a couple field goals on the board as well as touchdowns. The Vikings are one of those teams — particularly at home — that aren’t bad enough to be pushed around but not quite good enough to stop a team in a rhythm.
Number of catches by Brandon Marshall
8. Somehow, even against a team with one of the best secondaries in the NFL last week, the Bears got the ball to Marshall 10 times for 165 yards. Only a couple teams have managed to shut down Marshall this season and I don’t see the Vikings being the latest to do so.
More touchdown passes or interceptions by Jay Cutler
Touchdowns. You’ve got to admire Cutler’s protection of the ball this season. He’s playing within himself and the system and has only thrown 11 interceptions. This is a road game, so the pressure is raised a bit, but I think he finds the end zone more.
Jay Cutler sacks
3. Cutler has only been sacked once in the past two weeks and he’s really settling in behind his shaky offensive line. They may be protecting him a bit better, but Cutler is also feeling the pressure and moving accordingly.
More passing yards – Jay Cutler or Christian Ponder
Jay Cutler. We saw what kind of quarterback Ponder is two weeks ago when the Vikings came to Soldier Field. I expect the Vikings to run the ball a lot more than pass.
More rushing yards – Bears or Vikings
Vikings. This has the feel of one of those games that Adrian Peterson explodes on the Bears. As mentioned previously, the Bears without Urlacher got blown up in the run game in the preseason and I think they struggle to stop Peterson without him.
Total rushing yards for Bears
105. I expect the Bears at some point to abandon the run game and be forced to take to the air.
Bears run-to-pass ratio
31 run-to-36 pass. The Bears will come out and make a concerted effort to run the ball in this one and control the tempo but at some point they’re going to have to deviate and sling the ball a bit more.
Team to win the turnover battle
Bears. Adrian Peterson has a tendency to lay the ball on the ground and the Bears should get plenty of chances to pop the ball out. Tim Jennings, the NFL’s leader in interceptions, will miss this game, though, so that’s one less playmaker to take the ball away.
Total points scored
43. Weather-controlled environment for the game, so the two teams should put a moderate amount of points on the board with both likely to get into the 20s.