Aug 23, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) in the huddle before a play against the Oakland Raiders during the first quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
It’s time to move on from that terrible loss to the Packers. The Bears have to turn the page too. As bad as the loss was, you can’t let one loss turn into two, so watch the film, learn from it and move on. The same might able able to be said about the Carolina Panthers. They’re riding a two-game losing streak of their own, surrendering 35+ in consecutive losses. Let’s look inside the numbers for the Week 5 matchup of the Chicago Bears vs Carolina Panthers and find out which team has the advantage on Sunday.
When the Bears Have the Ball
Bears Rushing Offense (20th) vs Panthers Rush Defense (27th)
The Bears bolstered their rushing offense last week with a huge game against the Packers. They went into Week 3 dead last in rushing, but jumped up 12 spots after a 235 yard outburst. The Panthers are giving up nearly 141 per game on the ground and will be without both of their intended starting defensive ends as Greg Hardy languishes in the corner with the rest of the domestic violence brutes and bookend Frank Alexander gets another 10 games added to his substance abuse. Luke Kuechly will be a formidable force, leading the league with 46 tackles through 4 games.
Matt Forte had the breakout game we were expecting after being bottled up by some of the best rush defenses. Even Ka’Deem Carey was able to gain some meaningful yards before garbage time in the blowout loss to the Pack. Roberto Garza and Matt Slauson returned to practice, albeit on a limited basis but their return would certainly provide a lift to an already solid Chicago Bears offensive line.
Bears Passing Offense (14th) vs Panthers Pass Defense (12th)
Sep 28, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett (83) runs past Green Bay Packers free safety Micah Hyde (33) during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
The Bears passing offense has certainly had some big highs, but it’s still only ranked in the middle of the pack at 14th, averaging just 242 yards per game. The funny thing is the Bears have only put up 176 and 225 passing yards in their two wins, so piling up a lot of passing yards is not a key to winning. Last week they put up nearly 500 yards and they got blown out while only scoring 17 points. Martellus Bennett is among the league leaders in receiving, so he should pose a matchup challenge for the Panthers.
For the Panthers, their defense was certainly their strength last season, but they’re a different unit without Greg Hardy and his 14 sacks and 45 hurries. They’ve only gotten 8 sacks through four games and their pass coverage has suffered as a result. Thomas DeCoud and Roman Harper should have their hands full as the Bears try to run route combinations to move them around and get their giant targets to come open.