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 Mitchell Trubisky pass for Sunday against the Vikings? In three games since being reinstalled as the Bears' starting quarterback, Trubisky has thrown for 242, 267 and 267 yards.
Miller should be an expert in our area of concentration this week, having thrown for 5,867 yards in four seasons with the Bears from 1999-2002. He produced two of the most prolific passing performances in franchise history in back-to-back games in 1999, throwing for 422 yards (fourth most) against the Vikings and 357 yards (tied for 14th most) versus the Chargers.
Our guest celebrity this week is former cornerback/Pro Bowl return specialist Jerry Azumah, who spent his entire seven-year NFL career with the Bears from 1999-2005 after arriving as a fifth-round draft pick from New Hampshire.
Larry Mayer, ChicagoBears.com
Prediction: Mitchell Trubisky will pass for 249 yards against the Vikings.
Comment: Trubisky has done an excellent job the past two weeks of taking what the defense gives him and not forcing throws into coverage. He's also quarterbacked an offense that has generated 11 touchdowns in its last three games after mustering only nine TDs in its previous seven contests. Here's hoping that Trubisky can build on that success Sunday in Minnesota.
Nathan Smith, ChicagoBears.com
Prediction: Mitchell Trubisky will pass for 305 yards against the Vikings.
Comment: Trubisky is starting to regain the confidence of the coaching staff. Minnesota's offense should be able to put up some points, necessitating more passing than the Bears tried against the Texans.
Alex Brown, former Bears defensive end
Prediction: Mitchell Trubisky will pass for 270 yards against the Vikings.
Comment: The Bears have been able to move the ball and have great balance on offense. If the running game continues to have success, I fully expect Trubisky to have another really solid day in the pocket. The offensive line has been playing really well as of late, too, so that's a huge reason for my confidence in Trubisky this week.
Patrick Mannelly, former Bears long-snapper
Prediction: Mitchell Trubisky will pass for 267 yards against the Vikings.
Comment: Trubisky has thrown for 267 yards each of the last two weeks against the Lions and Texans. The Vikings are a little better defense, but let's stay on a roll with 267 yards again and make it two wins in a row.
Jim Miller, former Bears quarterback
Prediction: Mitchell Trubisky will pass for 230 yards against the Vikings.
Comment: Trubisky will also throw for two touchdowns. Minnesota has a young secondary and has blown some coverage assignments this year. The 26 touchdown passes the Vikings have given up are nothing to brag about either.
Guest celebrity: Jerry Azumah
Prediction: Mitchell Trubisky will pass for 250 yards against the Vikings.
Comment: Trubisky is coming off his best game of the season. Having a balanced attack and running the ball effectively contributed to Trubisky's success. The Bears will have to duplicate that game plan against the Vikings, who have not played the pass well this season. This will be a playoff atmosphere as the Bears travel to Minnesota. Trubisky will make key plays and the Bears will win a close one 23-21.
Recap of last week: The Bears rushed for a season-high 169 yards in last Sunday's 36-7 trouncing of the Texans. ChicagoBears.com writer Nathan Smith came the closest among our panel members by predicting 160 yards.
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