2. The Chicago Bears will see Kyler Gordon under fire
Kyler Gordon has played well in the first four games since his return from injury. It is clear that moving him into the full-time slot role is valuable. He handled Brandon Powell and Hunter Renfrow with ease in his first two games. On the flip side, Keenan Allen got him a time or two, and the Chargers had such a big lead that he did not need to be tested. And while he played well against the Saints, he also allowed a touchdown to Chris Olave.
Gordon has not been exposed and has had moments, especially as a tackling player, but he has questions in coverage that need to be answered. It feels like we will get some answers on Thursday. The Panthers top wideout is Adam Thielen. Thielen has 76 targets, and the next-highest Panthers player has 37. He gets 28% of the targets from this offense and 29% of the air yards. On third and fourth down, the Panthers target him 36% of the time. He is their go-to guy.
More than that, DJ Chark is out, so the percentages may shift higher. Thielen will be against Kyler Gordon almost exclusively in this game. He runs 71.9% of his routes from the slot, which is 258 snaps.
So Thielen is not quite as good as someone like Keenan Allen, but he will be directly in the slot, and with the Bears favored, you do not think the Panthers will get an early lead and sit on it as the Chargers did. This will be the biggest test of the season for the second-year cornerback.