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Choosing Sides

Choosing Sides: How many yards will Foles pass for?

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Prior to every Bears game this season, we 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 Nick Foles pass for in his first Bears start Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts? Foles was named the starting quarterback Monday, one day after he replaced an ineffective Mitchell Trubisky and threw three touchdown passes in the final 6:20 to turn a 26-10 deficit into a dramatic 30-26 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Our guest celebrity this week is Lauren Screeden, Bears reporter and co-host of the "Inside the Bears" television show.

Larry Mayer, ChicagoBears.com

Prediction: Nick Foles will pass for 250 yards against the Colts.

Comment: The Colts have permitted the fewest total yards and passing yards in the NFL to this point. So it won't be easy for the Bears offense. But with a week to prepare, I believe that Foles will have some success spreading the ball around to an array of targets Sunday at Soldier Field.

Nathan Smith, ChicagoBears.com

Prediction: Nick Foles will pass for 280 yards against the Colts.

Comment: The Colts have the top defense in the league through three weeks, but I expect Foles will continue to challenge downfield. And if the Bears fall behind early, they will enter the fourth quarter in Atlanta/Detroit mode.

Alex Brown, former Bears defensive end

Prediction: Nick Foles will pass for 268 yards against the Colts.

Comment: This is the first real test for the Bears offense against a top 10 defense. Foles has a good grasp of the offense and that bodes well for the Bears because he will need to be sharp this week to score points.

Patrick Mannelly, former Bears long-snapper

Prediction: Nick Foles will pass for 232 yards against the Colts.

Comment: Nick Foles and the Bears offense have a real test against a Colts defense that is only giving up 132 yards passing per game. I do feel confident that coach Matt Nagy can dial up a game plan that can beat that number.

Jim Miller, former Bears quarterback

Prediction: Nick Foles will pass for 225 yards against the Colts.

Comment: Foles needs to throw with timing and rhythm much like Gardiner Minshew did when Jacksonville beat the Colts in Week 1. Minshew completed 19 of 20 passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns in a 27-20 win. When Foles' back foot hits on his drop, the ball needs to be coming out. Put pressure on the Colts secondary that had a lot of breakdowns in the opener.

Guest celebrity: Lauren Screeden

Prediction: Nick Foles will pass for 287 yards against the Colts.

Comment: With Tarik Cohen on IR, I wouldn't be surprised if the Bears rely a little less on their run game and give Foles the green light to make big plays like he did in the fourth quarter of last Sunday's win over the Falcons. He threw for 188 yards and three touchdowns in less than two quarters of playing time, proving he can run this offense without having taken any first-team reps in practice since training camp. Imagine what he can do in an entire game. Although the Colts' defense leads the league with six interceptions, I have faith in guys like Allen Robinson II and Jimmy Graham going up to get the ball.

Recap of last week: Three of our six panelists correctly predicted that Allen Robinson II's receiving yards would be higher than Mitchell Trubisky's passer rating or David Montgomery's rushing yards last Sunday against the Falcons. Robinson won convincingly with 123 receiving yards, beating Trubisky's passer rating (71.8) and Montgomery's rushing yards (45). The correct predictions were made by ChicagoBears.com writer Nathan Smith, former Bears defensive end Alex Brown and celebrity guest Dan Pompei, a long-time NFL writer who is among the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors.

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