Bears vs Panthers: Top 5 Matchups to Watch

3 of 5

Sep 7, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman runs onto the field prior to a game against the Buffalo Bills at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

3. Marc Trestman vs Ron Rivera

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  • It’s the Brain vs Brawn.  The Lawyer vs the Gambler.  Offense vs Defense.  Willy Wonka vs Chico.  The matchup between Marc Trestman and Ron Rivera certainly has some clear differences but these two coaches have more in common than you’d think.

    Ron Rivera started his playing and coaching careers with the Chicago Bears.  He got his first significant shot when Lovie Smith selected him as his defensive coordinator.  The Bears defense flourished, but since Lovie was a defensive minded head coach, Rivera didn’t get a lot of credit for the defense’s success.  He and Lovie had some differences of opinion on some of the defensive schemes, so Chico was not retained.  Rivera kicked around and sat through countless “Rooney Rule” interviews before finally landed the Panthers job.

    Marc Trestman had a different path to his head coaching gig.  He worked at the hand of some of the offensive masters, none the least of which was Bill Walsh.  But like Chico, Trestman didn’t get much credit for his work as a quarterbacks coach and offensive assistant.  Trestman survived a Canadian exile before Phil Emery finally “discovered” him and brought him in to coach the Bears.

    The Bears will rely on their offense to win games, which is a shift from River’a days here.  They have some injuries to overcome, with some nagging issues on the offensive line.  The Panthers rode a stellar defense to a division title and a postseason berth, but they’ve fallen on hard times.  Greg Hardy is sitting in the corner, thinking about what he’s done while Frank Alexander doubled down on stupid to earn another 10 game suspension just as he was coming off a 4-game stint in the penalty box.

    Whichever coach can get around their injuries and suspensions will have a really good chance to win.