The Bears lead the all-time series 4-3. Last season, the Panthers came to Soldier Field and fell short 34-29, but gave the Bears everything they had.
The Bears will don their alternate jerseys on Sunday that honor the 1940′s “Monsters of the Midway.”
The Bears are coming off a 13-7 victory over the Detroit Lions and are currently riding a four-game winning streak.
The Panthers lost 19-14 to Dallas and starting quarterback Cam Newton wasn’t pleased with his team after the game whatsoever.
“The past couple of games have been the same script, by the same director,” Newton said via Carolinapanthers.com. “It’s kind of getting boring. This taste, this vibe — I’m not buying it, man. And I don’t know what it is, but something’s going to have to change. Something’s going to have to change real fast.”
This is a big game for both teams, obviously the Panthers can’t afford another loss and the Bears have to take advantage of Minnesota’s Thursday night loss to Tampa Bay.
The Bears have allowed the least amount of points per game (13.0) and have scored the seventh most points per game (27.0).
The Panthers on the other hand are 20th in points allowed per game (24.0) and are 28th in points per game (17.7).
The Bears should be able to come away with their sixth victory against a disappointing Panthers team.
Next week against Tennessee is very winnable as well, but the Bears can’t look ahead. They have to keep their focus.
The best teams are focused week in and week out and the Bears must do so to keep their impressive start going.
Bears’ WR Alshon Jeffery (hand) has been ruled out for the second straight week. QB Jay Cutler (ribs) was limited on Wednesday, but practiced fully the last two days and will start. If the game gets out of hand you could see backup QB Jason Campbell a bit.
CB Sherrick McManis (hip) practiced fully all week and should be ready to help on special teams.
The Panthers recently lost starting defenders, CB Chris Gamble (shoulder) and LB Jon Beason (knee) for the season.
They will likely be without two of their rotational defensive ends, Antwan Applewhite (thigh) and Thomas Keiser (elbow).
The Bears will win if?
The Bears will win if they get Matt Forte going early and often. Getting Forte going early in this one will help the Bears win the time of possession and could set up a few redzone opportunities for Jay Cutler and Co. It won’t be easy stopping Cam Newton, but the Bears’ defense is much more disciplined this season which should help them on Sunday.
The Bears will lose if?
The Bears will lose if they can’t convert on third downs. The Panthers defense is weak, but the Bears sometimes play down to their opponents level. The Panthers will attack on defense and the Bears need to make sure they cover Newton’s favorite targets Steve Smith and ex-Bear Greg Olsen. If they allow Newton ample time they could be in for a long day.
Players Who Must Step Up:
1. Michael Bush-The Bears have limited his carries the past two weeks (10), but he has made the most of them by racking up 62 yards. He has made some nice plays by hurdling over defenders with ease. If the Bears get near the goal-line early look for Bush to pound in the rock. He could be in line for a few rushing touchdowns if the Bears attack early.
Prediction: Seven rushes, 45 yards, one touchdown.
2. Henry Melton-He’s been rather quiet as of late racking up just eight tackles, one and half sacks and a forced fumble over the past three outings. He is a presence who demands a double team. With that being said it could be tough for him to make plays, but I just have a gut feeling Melton will dominate in this one.
Prediction: Five tackles, one sack, one fumble recovery.
3. Chris Conte-He nearly reeled in his second interception of the season last week against Detroit. He has racked up 21 tackles over the past three games and has looked really comfortable next to Major Wright in the secondary. They are quickly becoming one of the better safety tandems. Look for Conte to help stop the run and make big plays on the back end. He should be ready for a big matchup against Panthers athletic quarterback Cam Newton.
Prediction: Eight tackles, one pass deflection.
Final score predictions
Jake Perper: Chicago Bears 30, Carolina Panthers 17.
Matt Eurich: Chicago Bears 34, Carolina Panthers 10.
Weather.com Weather Report:
Mostly cloudy with isolated rain showers. Highs in the upper 40s. North winds 10 to 20 mph. Gusts up to 30 mph late in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation 20 percent.