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Handicapping the Bears: Overs and Unders

I thought this weekend, we'd take a break from intense, ponderous news to have a little fun with some propositional bets related to our Bears. For those of you concerned with the timing (they haven't signed any free agents, you nimrod!), I will adjust as we approach the season. Follow me after the jump and let's have some fun.

Disclaimer: I need to stress that this is completely for funsies. We are not a gambling site, and these are not taken from any actual gambling site.

Now with that out of the way... Onwards. These will be strictly over/unders. If you don't understand how this works, if I "set the over/under on Jay Cutler's interceptions at 15", you'd say if you think Jay would throw more (over) or less (under) than 15.

We clear? Golden.

The Bears allowed 56 sacks last year, far and away the most in the NFL. Arizona and Carolina each surrendered 50, while Philadelphia allowed 49. Allowing 48 would tie the Bears for fourth-most... so with the addition of Gabe Carimi, let's set this number for Bears' sacks allowed at 48.5.

Last year, Jay threw for 3,274 yards on 432 attempts. In 2009-10, he threw for 3,666 on 555 attempts. I'd think Jay would get more attempts to throw this year, so just on that alone, let's set the number for Jay Cutler pass attempts at 490.

Since Jay entered the league, he's posted a quarterback rating of 88, 88, 86, 76 (Turner), and 86 (Martz). Could he break 88 this season? Let's see what you think; I'm setting the number for Jay Cutler's end-of-year QB Rating at 88.1.

Dual-threat running back Matt Forte broke the 1000-rushing, 500-receiving yards barrier last season with 1,616 yards. Another such year would give him his third season of over 1600 all-purpose yards in his first four. I'll set the number for Matt Forte's Rushing and Receiving Yardage Total at 1650, and setting his Receiving Yardage at 600. 

Johnny Knox finished sixth in the NFL in yards-per-reception of 18.8. Desean Jackson posted an 18.5 in 2009-10 before leading last season with 22.2. Mike Wallace finished with a 21.0; he finished 2009-10 with 19.4 YPR. Given that, does Johnny Knox break 20 YPR this season? I'll set the number of Johnny Knox's end-of-season Yards per Reception at 19.8.

Devin Hester set the record last season for return touchdowns, adding three more punt return touchdowns to his resume. How many more chances does he get? I'd set the over-under for Hester return touchdowns at 3, but let's make this more interesting than that... I'll set the number for Devin Hester punt returns - not touchdowns, just returns - at 28, a few more than his number of returns in 2009.

The Bears defense sacked opposing quarterbacks 34 times last year, and 34 in 2009. This after adding perennial Pro-Bowler and general He-Man Julius Peppers. Tommie Harris contributed 1.5 of those, and is gone this year; in his place steps workout warrior and Youtube sensation Stephen Paea. Harris contributed 3 sacks in his rookie year as a first-round pick; if Paea can match that, it'd be good, but if he can surpass it... I'll tentatively set the Bears' Sacks at 40.

Last year's third round safety Major Wright played in 11 games, with no starts, making 17 tackles and four assists. This year's third round safety pick Chris Conte is coming off his best year as a collegiate athlete. Given that Major didn't get any starting time, I'm betting Conte won't either, but I'll set the number for Chris Conte total tackles and assists at 19.5.

We know the Bears predicate their defense on getting turnovers, and we know the Bears have occasionally had a hard time holding onto the football. In 2009, the Bears gave away six more turnovers than they took, and in 2010 the Bears took four more than they gave. Ergo, let's set the number for Bears Net Turnovers (Interceptions and Fumbles taken minus interceptions and fumbles given away) at +4.

Ideally, the Bears don't want to have any backup quarterback see time, because ideally your starter is perfect, not getting injured, and leading your team to the Super Bowl. Since that hasn't happened, and the Bears drafted Nathan Enderle, this is a nice tough one. In 2009, Caleb Hanie threw 7 passes. In 2010, Caleb Hanie threw... 7 passes. The number for Nathan Enderle Pass Attempts is 7.

And the most important one... Since 2006's 13-3, the Bears have finished 7-9, 9-7, 7-9 and 11-5. Will the Bears equal or surpass 2010? I'll set the number for Bears Regular Season Victories at 10.5.

And yes, we will revisit these as needed as we approach the regular season, and maybe add some to the list.