The Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers will meet for only the sixth time tomorrow in Carolina. The Panthers lead the all-time series 3-2. The last time these two teams played was in 2008, the Panthers won in Carolina 20-17.
The Bears will travel to Carolina to take on the 0-4 Panthers. 38 year old veteran QB Todd Collins will start in place of injured QB Jay Cutler. This will be the first time in Cutler’s career that he will miss a game, but the Bears are making the right move by not allowing the concussed Cutler play.
I don’t know if Todd Collins is actually that much better than third string QB Caleb Hanie. Obviously Collins has more experience, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Hanie came in to replace him.
The key to tomorrow’s game is not the passing game, which was pathetic last week. The key is the running game, Chester Taylor and Matt Forte need to help this struggling offensive line. Taylor had some success running the ball last week and I expect for him to get plenty of opportunities this week. Forte on the other hand needs to prove himself or he could be demoted to the number two back.
The offensive line was obviously in disarray last week, letting the Giants defensive line smother Jay Cutler consistently, but it wasn’t all their fault. Cutler was just standing in the pocket for way too long just getting hit by Giants defenders.
The line let up sacks and maybe Cutler was scared of the Giants defense, but you can’t stand in their for that long and expect to make a play out of it. Look for Frank Omiyale to start at left tackle again for the injured Chris Williams, Edwin Williams to play for the banged up Lance Louis and J’Marcus Webb to play for Kevin Shaffer.
They need Cutler to get healthy, but playing him a week after he got sacked nine times by the NY Giants defense, he has to rest up. The running game will be key in the offense’s success and the defense needs to constant pressure on rookie QB Jimmy Clausen. Clausen didn’t look great against New Orleans, but he wasn’t awful. The Bears know they need to record sacks and that is exactly what former Panther’s players Julius Peppers and Chris Harris will do.
Peppers will most likely be booed by the Carolina fans who cheered him on his entire career. Peppers wants to make the most out of his return trip to Carolina.
The Bears have been reported to have interest in DT Alfonso Boone. The 34 year old Boone played with the Bears in 2006 and was part of a solid defensive line rotation. Boone was released by the Chargers Wednesday because they have injuries in the secondary, but he is still a solid player and the Bears could use solid players on this defense.
Players Who Must Step Up:
1) Henry Melton- He knows he needs to step up now that Mark Anderson is gone. Melton has the ability, hopefully he takes advantage of it.
Prediction: 6 tackles, one sack.
2) Chester Taylor- He will get a lot more playing time than usual against Carolina, since the Bears lack a “real” QB.
Prediction: 12 carries, 62 yards, one touchdown.
3) Lance Briggs- Look for him to be flying all over the field in Carolina. He knows this game is a must win for the 3-1 Bears.
Prediction: 10 tackles, one sack.
Who will win?
Prediction: Bears 20, Panthers 10.