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Choosing Sides

Choosing Sides: How many tackles will Smith record Sunday?

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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 tackles will Roquan Smith record in Sunday's regular-season finale against the Packers? Smith led the Bears with eight tackles in last Sunday's 41-17 win over the Jaguars, increasing his season-total to a career-high and team-leading 136, the fifth most in the NFL.

Our guest celebrity this week knows a thing or two about tackling: Lance Briggs, a seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker with the Bears, recorded 1,181 tackles in 12 seasons with the team from 2003-14.

Larry Mayer, ChicagoBears.com
Prediction: Roquan Smith will record 10 tackles against the Packers.
Comment: Smith has been playing at an All-Pro level most of the season, especially in recent weeks with two sacks against the Texans and two interceptions versus the Jaguars. He's tied for the NFL lead with 97 solo tackles but, oddly, didn't have any in the first meeting with Green Bay—all five of his tackles were assists—the only time he's been blanked this year. Smith figures to be a tackling machine on a mission in the rematch Sunday.

Nathan Smith, ChicagoBears.com
Prediction: Roquan Smith will record 12 tackles against the Packers.
Comment: The season's biggest game requires the defense's most productive player to step up. This is the best venue for Smith to make the statement that he is ready to take the mantle of the league's best inside linebacker.

Alex Brown, former Bears defensive end
Prediction: Roquan Smith will record 16 tackles against the Packers.
Comment: Roquan has been all over the field this season and truly has taken a step forward in being the "bell cow" on this defense, though that title still belongs to Akiem Hicks. Roquan will again lead the team in tackles and throw in a couple tackles-for-loss for good measure.

Patrick Mannelly, former Bears long-snapper
Prediction: Roquan Smith will record 10 tackles against the Packers.
Comment: Roquan has been a beast all year and I hope he has another great game. Let's also hope that he gets another interception after registering two last Sunday against the Jaguars.

Jim Miller, former Bears quarterback
Prediction: Roquan Smith will record 11 tackles against the Packers.
Comment: I think Roquan will also have a sack in Sunday's game. The Packers rushed for 182 yards on 39 carries in the first matchup between the teams. Roquan understands he has to be more impactful and productive at stopping the run this time around.

Guest celebrity: Lance Briggs
Prediction: Roquan Smith will record 14 tackles against the Packers.
Comment: The magnitude of this game requires Roquan to be at his best; the Bears need that kind of effort in order to win.

Recap of last week: The Bears scored 41 points in last Sunday's drubbing of the Jaguars in Jacksonville. Among our panel, ChicagoBears.com writer Nathan Smith came the closest with a prediction they would generate 38 points.

Your turn: We want to know what you think, so please register your vote below:

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