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Choosing Sides

Choosing Sides: How many yards will Cook rush for?


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 yards will Vikings star running back Dalvin Cook rush for against a stout Bears defense that limited Titans Pro-Bowler Derrick Henry to 68 yards on 21 carries last Sunday in Tennessee?

Our guest celebrity this week is Doug Plank, a hard-hitting Bears safety from 1975-82 who knows a thing or two about run support.

Larry Mayer,
Prediction: Dalvin Cook will rush for 78 yards against the Bears.
Comment: Cook has looked unstoppable the last two weeks, producing an eye-popping 478 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns in leading the Vikings to back-to-back wins over the Packers and Lions. I think the Bears will do a fairly good job of swarming to the ball Monday night and hopefully prevent Cook from producing any game-changing breakaway runs.

Nathan Smith,
Prediction: Dalvin Cook will rush for 85 yards against the Bears.
Comment: Cook is closer to the Saints' Alvin Kamara than the Titans' Derrick Henry. Kamara's speed made him pretty effective against the Bears. I don't expect Cook to put up crazy numbers, but he'll likely have a good day.

Alex Brown, former Bears defensive end
Prediction: Dalvin Cook will rush for 105 yards against the Bears.
Comment: Cook is a really good back with game-breaking speed. He doesn't need big holes to get through, so even though the defense has been stout of late against the run, I don't see how they can hold Cook under 105 yards. He's that dynamic of a playmaker.

Patrick Mannelly, former Bears long-snapper
Prediction: Dalvin Cook will rush for 110 yards against the Bears.
Comment: After seeing how well the Bears defense did against Derrick Henry and the Titans last week, I can see them "holding" Dalvin Cook to 110 yards. Cook has been on a roll lately, rushing for 163 and 206 yards the last two weeks. It will be a tall task to slow him down.

Jim Miller, former Bears quarterback
Dalvin Cook will rush for 110 yards against the Bears.
Comment: Cook will catch a minimum of three passes for another 30 yards. The Vikings offense is driven by what Cook is doing. The defense should keep him from generating over 200 yards from scrimmage like he has the past two weeks, giving the Bears a chance to beat Minnesota.

Guest celebrity: Doug Plank
Dalvin Cook will rush for 123 yards against the Bears.
Comment: Dalvin Cook is a different back than Derrick Henry. The Titans use Henry as a hammer against opposing defenses, mostly on straight dive plays which the agile Bears defense smothered. The Vikings have wide receiver-motion and play-action before handing the ball to Cook. Cook is rushing for an average of 123 yards per game and I think he'll hit his average against the Bears.

Recap of last week: The Bears' longest play from scrimmage in last Sunday's loss to the Titans was Nick Foles' 34-yard completion to Anthony Miller. writer Larry Mayer came the closest, predicting a long play of 40 yards. Four of our panelists expected receiver Darnell Mooney to produce the Bears' longest play against the Titans. But the rookie fifth-round pick's 22-yard reception from Foles was the team's fifth longest gain. 

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