Posts tagged ‘over/under’
by Sean - posted Friday, November 7th, 2008
As the Bears face their toughest test of the season almost certainly without starting QB Kyle Orton, the odds will be stacked against them. The Titans defense will look to feast on mistake-prone Rex Grossman and turn what could’ve been a close game into a blowout.
Still, the Bears are not without hope. This is a team that has played its best football against its toughest opponents with wins over the Colts and Eagles. The Bears will need to rise to that challenge again and play their best game of the year this Sunday.
For a look at how they might do it Bearscast sets the over/under on five key topics for this week:
Over/Under: 1.5 turnovers for Rex Grossman
Turnovers have always been Rex’s biggest issues. In games he’s committed one or zero turnovers the Bears are 17-6, and it will likely take one of those games for the Bears to eek out a victory this week.
Unfortunately it’s hard to imagine Rex standing up to the constant pressure of Albert Hansworth and Kyle Vanden Bosch and not making a few mistakes. Rex could still play a solid game, but the odds of him making a few mistakes especially given his lack of playing time are too great to go under.
Over/Under: 115 rushing yard for the Titans
The Titans average nearly 150 yards rushing per game and the Bears average giving up about 80, so 115 is right in the middle. Stopping the run is what the Bears D has done best all season holding 6 of 8 opponents to under 100 yards for the game,
But one of the two opponents to go over 100 was the Carolina Panthers and the Titans feature a similar two-back system. LenDale White will handle most of the between the tackles work and rookie speedster Chris Johnson is their home run hitter. The Bears should keep them contained most of the day, but one big run from Johnson could easily put the Titans over 115.
Over/Under: 7 tackles for Brian Urlacher
For the season Urlacher is only averaging 5.5 tackles per game. While that still has him second on the team it’s also far from the production we’ve come to expect. One reason for the low total could be how quickly teams abandon the run against the Bears, limiting opportunities for Urlacher and the entire front seven.
But this week they face a team that will not abandon the run. With Kerry Collins under center the Titans need to consistently pound the ball to take the pressure off of him. This should be and needs to be the game that Urlacher regains his form. He finished last year playing outstanding after taking some criticism over his early play; hopefully this season will pan out similarly.
Over/Under: 35% 3rd down conversion rate for Titans
For the year the Bears D has been great on 3rd down holding teams to a measly 32% conversion rate. However, they have still had a tendency to give up prolonged drives, which wears the defense out especially against a physically team like the Titans.
The Titans offensively have not been all that great converting only 39% of their 3rd downs on the season. The Bears ability to stop the run should put the Titans in lots of 3rd and 6+. Getting off the field then will be crucial to avoid breaking down in the 4th quarter against Tennessee’s running game.
Over/Under: 125 all-purpose yards for Matt Forte
Last week Forte showed the same flashes he had week-one against the Colts and reaffirmed that he was capable of carry the Bears to victory. If the Bears are going to get to 6-3 this Sunday he’ll need to do it again and should get plenty of opportunities.
With Hansworth clogging up the middle expect to see a lot of swing passes and stretch runs with Forte. He’s the Bears best and most consistent playmaker on offense and more than likely he’ll need to create something from nothing several times this week. If Forte can consistently get positive yards and keep the offense out of 3rd and long he’ll have put the Bears in a position to compete.
by Sean - posted Saturday, November 1st, 2008
This Sunday the hapless Lions will visit Soldier Field, and amazingly they will be even more toothless than they were in Detroit five weeks ago. But even without Jon Kitna and Roy Williams no team in the NFL is a complete pushover.
Still the Bears somewhat maligned defense unit should be able to feast on a back-up QB, Dan Orlovsky, who leads an offense with only one legitimate weapon in Calvin Johnson. Aiding the cause should be the return of starting CBs Charles Tillman and Nathan Vasher who both appear to have recovered over the bye week.
The real test, at least in my eyes, is to see if the Bears offense will come out of the bye week without missing a beat. Kyle Orton had been playing like a Pro Bowler over the last three games and it’ll be important to the Bears second half that he immediately squash any potential doubts that it might have been a fluke. He should have default #1 wide receiver Brandon Lloyd as well as Devin Hester on the field to help.
So now for those and more keys to the game we turn to the Bearscast Over/Under:
Over/Under: 100 yards rushing for Matt Forte
The last time these two teams met the Lions stacked the line, shut down Matt Forte, and paid the price. This game should signal a change in that trend as more teams, especially the Lions, respect Orton’s ability to beat them through the air.
This should hopefully mean a reemergence of Matt Forte as a more dominant running threat. As he sees fewer and fewer 8-men boxes he will need to break tackles and get into the second level. If Forte can’t pick up his performance to compensate for the extra attention Orton is going to get the Bears are in trouble.
I think he will.
Over/Under: 2 sacks for the Bears defensive line
Here we are, another week into the season and still wondering if the Bears’ pass rush is ever going to show up. Tommie Harris and Adawale Ogunleye are by far the biggest culprits and if we are to see an appreciable improvement in the overall defensive performance it will start with those two.
What does it say that the Bears are paying them nearly a combined $17mil for 3 sacks at this point? Probably that the team and fans are getting ripped off. We’ve seen that Harris, Ogunleye, and Mark Anderson all have the talent to get to the quarterback, and yet if it were anyone other than Detroit I’d be going under here.
Over/Under: 10 snaps for rookie Chris Williams
I’ve already made my case for Chris Williams to be starting as soon as this Sunday, but now my fear is that he probably isn’t even going to see the field. For all those who cry out about line continuity, the counter is the incomparable value of live NFL action. Williams hasn’t seen any yet and he needs to get his feet wet.
The one hope is that this Bears/Lions game is as lopsided as the last so Williams can protect Rex Grossman’s blindside for most of the fourth quarter. Unfortunately the odds are against that and Lovie Smith and Co. will likely squander the opportunity to get him even as little as a dozen snaps. Why such blatant disregard for game action that could advance his development by lightyears? Because they’re the Bears.
Over/Under: 140 combined receiving yards for Lloyd and Hester
As fun as the approach by committee has been for the Bears passing game they eventually need true leaders to emerge there. Prior to his injury Lloyd looked as if he was well on his way to becoming Orton’s favorite target, as evidenced by the fact that he’s still third on the team in receiving despite missing 2.5 games. Additionally Hester has shown flashes that he’s starting to get it and it would be huge if he could build on his earlier success against the Lions.
Still you can’t argue with the ability the move the ball the Bears have shown without Lloyd and that could mean he is worked back into the offense slowly. With Hester his injuries, though both have been sustained while returning kicks, could make coaches a little gun shy.
These two will probably still be the source of most of the big passing plays while they are healthy but for the time being they will have to settle for playing a smaller role.
Over/Under: 250 yards of total offense surrender by Bears defense
400 yards and 41 points are way too much for the Bears to give up any Sunday. To make matters worse they got an extra week to think about it and an extra week’s worth of question from the media digging at them about it. If they can’t come out motivated for this game then they really have become fat and complacent.
There is still enough pride on this D to muster a big time performance. With the return of Tillman to help slow down Calvin Johnson the Bears should thoroughly out-man Detroit. Not that dominating the Lions will really serve as a barometer for the second half, but the healing has to start somewhere.
Thankfully for the Bears, the Lions are just what the doctor ordered.
by Sean - posted Friday, October 10th, 2008
The next two weeks are the turning point of the Bears season. They already salvaged a potentially positive season with a goal line stand against the Eagles. Then they started to forge their identity by dominating the Lions in Detroit.
But now the journey really begins. The road leads to the playoffs and playing off 2007 as a fluke. At 3-2 and with a string of winnable games ahead the Bears get the chance to establish themselves as a forced to be reckoned with in the NFC (again).
Their defense can be dominant and opportunistic. Their offense can be efficient and dare I say explosive. And by putting it all together the Bears can rescue themselves from the fate of other fading teams like the Seattle Seahawks.
And so with over/under we look at the keys, the storylines, and the match-ups of week 6.
Over/Under 100 rushing yards for Michael Turner
So far this seems to be the magic number for the Falcons. In their 3 wins this season Turner has averaged nearly 150 yards and 2 TDs, but in the 2 losses he’s been held to 50 yards per game and no TDs.
Mutually the 4th ranked Bears run D and Turner present the biggest challenge either has faced all year. But a motivated Tommie Harris and Co. can dominate along the line and allow Urlacher, Briggs, and Kevin Payne to slow “the Burner” down.
Turner and Jerius Norwood will likely combine to go over 100 on the day, but keeping Turner himself under the century mark should key a Bears victory.
Over/Under 4.0 yards per rushing attempt for Bears
The Bears have struggled running the ball the last few weeks but when finally looking at the numbers it more than a little startling. Things had gotten so bad that last week against the worse run defense in the NFL the Bears actually passed nearly 50% of the time on first down.
Personally you can’t complain about the balance or the effectiveness, but it is seriously disturbing to see Forte not even capable of cracking 3 yards per carry. It’s also disconcerting that Forte hasn’t broken off a run of longer then 20 yards since his week 1 gallop against the Colts.
Orton’s performance last week should finally loosen defenses up, but can this line consistently open the holes? While the running game should get back on track, 4 yrds/att is too lofty a goal.
Over/Under 270 yards passing for Kyle Orton
It’s absolutely amazing to think that Orton has averaged nearly 270 yards a game for the last 3 weeks. A big part of that is simply taking what the defense gives him, but coming into the season how sure were you that he could even do that?
He should have a decent chance against a secondary that is 3 parts young (S Eric Coleman, CB Brent Grimes, CB Chris Houston) and 1 part old (Lawyer Milloy). But the pass rush and the need to keep the ball away from the Falcons and their bruising running style might limit his attempts.
It’ll all depend on how they try to defend him. Will the Falcons blitz and try to force turnovers giving Orton the chance to make big plays? Doubtful and that’s why he comes in under 270 yards, but still has a good game
Over/Under 100 return yards for Devin Hester
It’s always quietest before the storm. Atlanta Falcons you have been officially warned. Devin Hester’s relatively meek start to the 2008 season should not embolden you to feel confident or cocky (but as Bears fans we sure hope it does).
A lot has been written about the fact that Hester hasn’t run one back at and at times has looked indecisive and tentative. But given that he missed most of the Carolina game and all of the Tampa game the drought is over stated. Others like ESPN’s Kevin Seifert do not though and even questioned whether or not teams should still fear Hester.
For anyone who wonders about that you should speak with: Brad Childress, Mike Shanahan and Tony Dungy. Ask them how kicking to Hester worked out. In the Georgia Dome this could be Hester’s break out game, and if not watching what Reggie Bush did to the Minnesota Vikings makes me salivate for next week.
Over/Under 1.5 sacks for John Abraham
There is no more important 1 on 1 match-up in this game than Falcons DE John Abraham vs. Bears LT John St. Clair. Abraham is the NFL leader in sacks with 7 and St. Clair is a journeyman tackle who’s been filling in admirably for injured rookie Chris Williams.
If anyone can disrupt the role that Kyle Orton and the Bears passing game has been on recently it’s Abraham. He has an ideal variety of speed and strength moves that can overmatch an athletically limited St. Clair.
The odds are that Abraham is going to Orton or flush him to his teammates, probably more than once. The key will to make sure that those sacks and hits don’t turn into turnover. Kyle Orton, watch your back.
by Sean - posted Friday, September 12th, 2008
In last week’s Over/Under I picked out a bunch of things I thought the Bears would need to go over on to stay close. Well, they won the game and only went “over” on 1 of 5 (thank you Matt Forte!).
In my own defense the Bears got two sacks when I set the line at 2.5, and both sacks came at key times. They also forced only one turnover which Lance Briggs took back for a touchdown when I set the line at 1.5. So perhaps my over/under’s will be another case of close but not quite this week, but they will still be key factors if the Bears are to get off to a 2-0 start.
Bears 3rd down conversion percentage: Over/Under 50%
Over: A HUGE key for the Bears against the Colts was converting 10 of 16 3rd downs. The Bears made sure not to put themselves in 3rd and long. It opened up lots of options for picking up the first and kept the defense on the sidelines. The Bears offense isn’t explosive so if they are going to score and control the ball they need to convert on 3rd down. With how well the executed in week 1 I expect them to do it again.
Combined rushing yards for DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart: Over/Under 125
Under: These two backs combined for nearly 140 yards against a highly respected Chargers defense. The Bears D on the other hand limited Joseph Addai to just 44 yards, but that was against a suspect offensive line. I don’t expect the Bears to shut down the run like they did last week, but especially with a healthy Dustin Dvoracek these two backs should struggle to break 100.
Sacks against and negative rushes for the Bears: Over/Under 4.5
Over: Last week the Bears were able to limit their pass attempts and Orton was only sacked twice. Also, Matt Forte did a great job slipping through the smallest crevice and making sure to pick up at least some positive yardage on every carry. I just find it hard to see this line playing that well two weeks in a row. Negative plays are a part of football and the Bears are going to have to show they can overcome them.
Receptions by Bears’ WR: Over/Under 8.5
Over: With the Bears up big early and running the ball well Kyle Orton never needed to open things up. As a result the Bears’ WRs made only six catches in the entire game and no WR caught more than two. I’m still confused what exactly Marty Booker is doing on the field, but that aside the wideouts are going to need to step up. Orton and Co. need to prove they can throw it this week. I am guessing Devin Hester makes a couple of big plays and leaves Panthers’ fans longing for Steve Smith.
Receiving yards for ex-Bear Moose Muhammad: Over/Under 50
Under: The Bears facing off against Mushin Muhammad is by far the most compelling story line this Sunday. And as I wrote Wednesday, while the Bears have said publicly very little about his comments it has been reported that off the record they are not particularly pleased with him. Moose came across as a me-first sort of player his entire time in Chicago, and I am sure he feels like he proved some people wrong with 56 yards receiving in week 1. I expect the Bears D will be highly motivated to shut him down and shut him up. If they can slow down Marvin Harrison, Moose shouldn’t be a challenge.
by Sean - posted Saturday, September 6th, 2008
Traditionally on Bearscast we do an Over/Under segment during our preview show for every game. I try to pick out five to six statistics or topics that I feel could play key role this week’s game. I try to focus on topics that could swing the tide between a Bears’ victory or defeat and occasionally I just have a little fun. So I now present you with the Bearscast Over/Under for week 1, my picks, and my thoughts/explanation.
Rushing yards for Matt Forte: Over/Under 85?
Matt Forte is the first rookie running back to start the opening game for the Bears since Walter Payton. While that’s pretty nice company Forte will need to have a much better day for the Bears to stay competitive, Payton rushed 8 times for 0 yards. With that in mind I think Forte will break the 85 yard mark and probably go over 100 in total-yards. He’s going to be the main man on team that’s looking to run and control the clock. If he comes in under the Bears are in trouble.
Sacks by the Bears defense: Over/Under 2.5?
There is a decent chance the Colts are going to have some protection issues. They lost their LG in free agency and then Pro Bowl C Jeff Saturday went out with an injury in the preseason. The problem is we’ve seen nothing that resembles a pass rush from the Bears so far this year. Supposedly Tommie Harris is 100% but combine the lackadaisical daze the D seems to be in with Peyton Manning’s quick release and I don’t think the Bears can get to him three times.
Passing yards for Kyle Orton: Over/Under 225?
Call it optimism and combine it with the fact that I expect the Bears to be behind in the second half. Orton is not the same QB he was in 2005 and with the full playbook at his disposal he will get the chance to take deep shots and make a lot more plays. The Colts secondary is outstanding but it plays the Cover-2 that Orton is so familiar with. I expect Brandon Lloyd and Greg Olsen to have good days and lots of yards picked up on pass to RB out of the backfield.
Turnovers forced by the Bears: Over/Under 1.5?
This is the one that is going to hurt the most. The Bears are going to need turnovers and good field position to stay in the game, and Manning’s rust after missing the whole preseason should help. However, the play from Safety has been so underwhelming and the pass rush so non-existent that it’s hard to foresee more than 1 INT. Combine that with the outstanding ball security, only 5 fumbles lost last year, and opportunities will be slim for this big play driven D. And without that the outlook is grim.
Receptions for Devin Hester: Over/Under 3.5?
Speculation is that Hester will start along side Brandon Lloyd Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. However, how many snaps he’ll play exactly is still up for debate. The Bears seemed to still be easing him into things during the preseason and despite all his talent he never really impressed. There’s also the concern that it will take away from his return ability, his #23, and the field position that supplies is too valuable to lose. I expect to see one gadget play (WR screen), one deep shot and one or two other targets, but I don’t expect that he’ll be an integral enough part of the offense to catch 4 passes.