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Choosing Sides

Choosing Sides: How many sacks & takeaways will Bears record?


Prior to every Bears game this season, we ask a panel of experts one question to test their clairvoyant powers. The panel consists of writers Larry Mayer and Nathan Smith; former Bears players Alex Brown, Patrick Mannelly and Jim Miller; and one guest celebrity.

This week's question is: How many sacks and takeaways will the Bears combine to produce in Sunday's home game against the Saints?

In seven games this season, the Bears defense has generated nine takeaways (five interceptions and four fumble recoveries) and 16 sacks, ranking 17th in the NFL in sacks per pass. In six games, the Saints offense has committed five turnovers (three interceptions and two fumbles) and allowed eight sacks, tied for fifth in the league in sacks per pass.

Our guest celebrity this week is Dionne Miller, ABC 7 Chicago sportscaster.

Larry Mayer,
Prediction: The Bears will combine to produce three sacks and takeaways.
Comment: Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks is always fired up, never more so than against his former team, the Saints. So I see Hicks reintroducing himself to former teammate Drew Brees with one of two Bears sacks. I also predict that rookie cornerback Jaylon Johnson will snag his first career interception.

Nathan Smith,
Prediction: The Bears will combine to produce three sacks and takeaways.
Comment: The Saints haven't allowed more than two sacks in a game this season. I think the Bears will force a turnover, but given how careful Drew Brees has been with the ball the last few years, I'm not confident that there will be more than one.

Alex Brown, former Bears defensive end
Prediction: The Bears will combine to produce five sacks and takeaways.
Comment: I don't really think of Drew Brees as a guy who turns the ball over very often, so if the Bears do take it away, it will be from the pressure they are putting on Brees in the pocket. The Bears will pressure him and I think the combined total of sacks and takeaways will be five.

Patrick Mannelly, former Bears long-snapper
Prediction: The Bears will combine to produce four sacks and takeaways.
Comment: This is a key stat to win the game. To win the game, the combined number needs to be four. Drew Brees is tough to sack, as he's only been taken down eight times so far this season. But I see the Bears with two takeaways and two sacks in Sunday's game.

Jim Miller, former Bears quarterback
Prediction: The Bears will combine to produce three sacks and takeaways.
Comment: I think the Bears will get two sacks and one interception. Drew Brees has been sacked only eight times all year while attempting 212 passes. That's one every 26.5 drop-backs. Brees has also thrown only three interceptions this season, or one out of every 70.2 pass attempts.

Guest celebrity: Dionne Miller. ABC 7 Chicago
Prediction: The Bears will combine to produce three sacks and takeaways.
Comment: Drew Brees might not have a ton of protection, but he doesn't turn the ball over. Like, not ever. The Bears will put on pressure and record three sacks, but come away with zero takeaways.

Recap of last week: writer Larry Mayer was closest with his prediction that the Bears would allow 21 points to the Rams Monday night in Los Angeles. The Bears lost the game 24-10.

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