The Panthers host the Bears Sunday at 1 pm. Carolina (3-2) will be facing the upstart Bears (4-1) that have given the reigns to veteran quarterback Nick Foles. Foles took over for Mitchell Trubisky after the former Tarheel was benched in the week three matchup against Atlanta.
Chicago has overcome a deficit of at least 13 points in 3 of its wins. They have already taken down two NFC South teams in Tampa Bay and Atlanta. Chicago’s offense is nothing to write home about but they still have playmakers that you need to keep an eye on. Allen Robinson is still a threat even though his numbers are not that gaudy. Robinson comes into week six with 421 yards on 35 catches and two touchdowns. The same can be said for running back David Montgomery. Montgomery enters the contest with 247 rushing yards on 63 carries with one touchdown. It is evident that the Bears’ strongpoint and the reason for the hot start, is their defense. The Bears are one of the best in the league in third-down and red zone defense. Chicago ranks fourth in the NFL in points allowed. The main contributors on defense are Khalil Mack, Roquan Smith, and Akiem Nicks.
The Panthers need to keep to the script with no turnovers and going on long drives. Mike Davis continues to turn heads in Christian McCaffrey’s absence and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has been magnificent. Bridgewater ranks 2nd in completion percentage in the league. Davis could be a factor out of the backfield in the passing game where he is averaging 7.5 receptions and 51.5 receiving yards per game. Short and quick outs may be the way to move the ball against the Bears secondary which ranks 10th in the league in passing yards allowed per game. D.J. Moore showed what he is capable of with a solid game against the Falcons and Robby Anderson has been a stellar free agent pick up for the Panthers. He has become the outright number one receiver. The Panthers need to keep working on scoring touchdowns when reaching the red zone.
A major concern for the Panthers is the injuries on defense. Rookie Yetur Gross-Matos and Kawann Short were placed on the IR this past week. Short’s shoulder injury will sideline him for the rest of the year. Zack Kerr who would fill in for Short is listed as questionable with a toe issue. The secondary has been hit by the injury bug too. Cornerbacks Eli Apple (ankle) and Donte Jackson (toe) are listed as questionable.
Chicago’s offense is not scary but Carolina needs to be able to stop the run which they continue to struggle with. The offensive line needs to handle the Bears defense, especially Khalil Mack. I think the Panthers will win their fourth straight because they have shown the ability to sustain long drives and burn the clock. The less time Foles and company have time to operate, the better chance Carolina gets the win at home.