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Week 8 Match-up: Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears

Posted By Smiley On Oct 25 2012 @ 11:58 pm In Chicago Bears | No Comments

 

October 27, 2012 at Soldier Field 12:00 ct.

When the Carolina Panthers prowl into Soldier Field on Sunday, they will be coming off of a loss to the Cowboys, a game in which they competed hard but couldn’t pull out the win. Even worse they have lost 4 straight games. Three of those losses came against some of the NFC’s top teams.

The Chicago Bears, on the other hand, have won 4 straight and face the Panthers with their best record since the 2006 Super Bowl season, in which they went 7-1.

A Glance at the Numbers

The Bears have one of the best defenses in the NFL, and arguably the best defense in the NFC if not the whole league. The Panthers offense is 28th in points per game and 24th in yards per game.

The battle between these two seems like it will be won on the ground. I know you are probably thinking that with this Panthers secondary it is easy pickings for Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall but there are reasons why I beg to differ.

  1. Jay Cutler did suffer a rib injury against the Lions on Monday night, but even though he said he will be fine I still expect Mike Tice to be more conservative early in the game.
  2. The Bears usual need to get the ground game going early on to set up the play-action and deeper, explosive passes down the field. Matt Forte has had great games against the Panthers in recent games while Michael Bush is doing a good job when he is on the field. So I do not think the coaching staff will hesitate when it comes to using a heavy dose of the run.
  3. The Panthers have not done well against the run and do not look to improve in this area. They rank 19th against the run. Their leading tackler is rookie  Luke Kuechly, who has had a solid year next to Jon Beason and James Anderson, however Jon Beason has recently been put on Injured Reserve which could thrust 5-year man Jordan Senn into the starting role. Jordan Senn did have 71 total tackles in his 7 starts last season.

Beyond the Numbers 

In the end , I do expect the Bears to come out on top. I do not expect any big numbers from Jay Cutler as he usually gets the job done regardless of throwing for 350+ yards, injured or not. I predict the Bears to continue their ground dominance from the last 2 games and rush for 200+ yards. After a rough day back on Monday for Earl Bennett, look for him to be ready to go (in his orange cleats, maybe).

Last year the Panthers did roll up 500+ yards with Cam Newton’s ability to use his feet and Steve Smith’s unusual streak of dominance of the secondary, but unless the Panthers involve their highly paid halfbacks more, the tougher it will be. Plus, the Bears defense has played solid against its weaker opponents this season. So there is a slight chance.

My Score 

Bears: 34 Panthers: 13

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