Prior to every Bears game this season, we will ask a panel of experts one question to test their clairvoyant powers. The panel consists of ChicagoBears.com 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 yards will be the Bears rush for against the Giants? The query comes after the Bears compiled 149 yards on 28 carries in last Sunday's season-opening 27-23 comeback win over the Lions. Our guest celebrity this week knows a thing or two about the importance of the running game; Connie Payton is the widow of Bears Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton.
Larry Mayer, ChicagoBears.com
Prediction: The Bears will rush for 127 yards against the Giants.
Comment: The Giants no doubt will head to Soldier Field determined to take away the Bears' running game, which could create some opportunities down the field for Mitchell Trubisky. Hopefully the Bears will have the lead in the fourth quarter and be able to rely on what appears to be an improved rushing attack to seal the win. David Montgomery will lead the way with 75 yards and one touchdown.
Nathan Smith, ChicagoBears.com
Prediction: The Bears will rush for 160 yards against the Giants.
Comment: The Giants gave up 141 yards on the ground against the Pittsburgh Steelers, most of which came from second-year running back Benny Snell Jr. Not only should the Bears be able to beat that mark, that should be a part of the game-plan, since so much is in flux with the passing game. This could be a real statement game for David Montgomery.
Alex Brown, former Bears defensive end
Prediction: The Bears will rush for 110 yards against the Giants.
Comment: Looking into Week 2 and focusing on the run game, the opportunity to have a big day is there with the O-line coming off a strong performance in Week 1. The commitment to the run will be the key. I don't think any one back tops the 100-yard mark, but as a team the Bears will greatly increase their chances of winning if they rush for 130 yards.
Patrick Mannelly, former Bears long-snapper
Prediction: The Bears will rush for 142 yards against the Giants.
Comment: I really like the run game-plan that Juan Castillo put together last week against the Lions. I feel the Bears will keep it rolling on the ground again this week and will top 100 yards again. Montgomery, Cohen and Patterson will combine to rush for 121 yards, and Mitch will add some yards to the total as well.
Jim Miller, former Bears quarterback
Prediction: The Bears will rush for 172 yards against the Giants.
Comment: The Giants struggled stopping the run against the Steelers, who featured Benny Snell due to James Conner's ankle injury. David Montgomery should go over 100 yards if the offensive line plays as dedicated and the Bears remain committed to the run game like they were against the Lions last week.
Guest celebrity: Connie Payton
Prediction: The Bears will rush for 135 yards against the Giants.
Comment: In their opener against the Steelers, the Giants gave up 113 yards on 19 carries to running back Benny Snell. Matt Nagy established the running game in Detroit last Sunday and I hope he commits to the ground game once again this weekend. Good things happen when you run the ball. If the Bears can establish a ground game this Sunday, they will be 2-0 headed into Week 3 of the season.
Recap of last week: Four of our six panelists correctly predicted that Jimmy Graham would score the Bears' first touchdown of the season. The veteran tight end caught a 2-yard TD pass from Mitchell Trubisky early in the fourth quarter, the first of Trubisky's three touchdown passes in the final period as the Bears erased a 23-6 deficit. So take a bow, Alex Brown, Patrick Mannelly, Jim Miller and Nathan Smith!