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Choosing Sides

Choosing Sides: What will be highest outcome?


Prior to every Bears game this season, we will ask a group 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.

Before we get to this week's question, we'd like to congratulate last week's guest celebrity, Connie Payton, for not only winning our competition, but predicting the exact number of yards the Bears would rush for against the Giants: 135. In making her pick, Connie added that "good things happen when you run the ball" and "if the Bears can establish a ground game this Sunday, they will be 2-0 headed into Week 3 of the season."

We knew Connie knew a thing or two about running the football after watching her husband Walter Payton become the NFL's all-time leading rusher. But we didn't realize she owned a crystal ball. A heads up from Connie about this week's lottery numbers would be much appreciated.

As for this week's question, we asked our panel to select which of the following three choices would produce the highest outcome Sunday when the Bears visit the Atlanta Falcons:

• Mitchell Trubisky's passer rating

David Montgomery's total rushing yards

• Allen Robinson II's total receiving yards

Our guest celebrity this week is longtime pro football writer Dan Pompei, who currently works for The Athletic and is one of 48 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame board of selectors.

Larry Mayer,

Prediction: Mitchell Trubisky's passer rating

Comment: Although the Bears have had more success running the ball than throwing it—they're tied for ninth in the NFL in rushing and rank 29th in passing—Mitchell Trubisky has shown signs of improvement and will be facing a Falcons defense that ranks 31st against the pass, allowing an averaging of 372.0 yards in the first two games of the season. Sunday's contest could be a high-scoring affair that will necessitate making plays through the air.

Nathan Smith,

Prediction: Allen Robinson II's receiving yards

Comment: Robinson's and Trubisky's fates are entwined. If Trubisky has a 100-plus passer rating, his top target probably has 100-plus yards. However, that doesn't necessarily work in reverse. Every time Robinson went over 100 yards last season, he eclipsed Trubisky's rating.

Alex Brown, former Bears defensive end

Prediction: Allen Robinson II's receiving yards

Comment: I think this will be a game where the Bears will have to come from behind, and that's where 'ARob' will do his best work. It'll be a huge bounce-back game for him!

Patrick Mannelly, former Bears long-snapper

Prediction: Mitchell Trubisky's passer rating

Comment: Atlanta's defense has given up the second most passing yards in the NFL in the first two weeks. Also, the last two NFC offensive players of the week are the quarterbacks that faced the Falcons. I look for Mitch to continue that trend and have a higher passer rating than Montgomery and Robinson's rushing and receiving yards, respectively.

Jim Miller, former Bears quarterback

Prediction: David Montgomery's rushing yards

Comment: I think Montgomery will rush for 125 yards and compile another 30 yards receiving. Ezekiel Elliott would have had well over 100 yards rushing if Dallas wasn't in play-from-behind mode all game last Sunday.

Guest celebrity: Dan Pompei

Prediction: Allen Robinson II's receiving yards

Comment: The Bears should have some explosive plays against the defense that has given up the second most passing yards in the league. A motivated Robinson is likely to have a bounce-back game after a mediocre performance against the Giants.

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