Game Preview: Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Game Preview: Panthers at Bears

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

FOX Chicago Sports Analyst Tom Waddle's preview of Sunday's matchup between the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers.

Offense

There is no doubt, this Bears offense is playing second fiddle to their high flying defense. No shame there, but continued progress is necessary if they are going to get to New Orleans in February. Jay Cutler took a licking, but kept on ticking Monday night. His ribs could be an issue Sunday, and may limit how explosive they will be through the air. With that said, starting with a heavy dose of Matt Forte is always a prudent approach. The offensive line must be better. Period.

They are saying the same thing about Cam Newton in Carolina. He has to be better. After a record setting rookie season, Newton has taken a step back physically and emotionally. He isn't getting any help from his offensive coordinator who hasn't focused on running the ball despite the strength of this Carolina team being their deep and talented backfield. Steve Smith is averaging 17 yards per catch, but hasn't found the end zone just yet. I'm giving the Bears a slight edge on offense

Defense

The defense is a wild mismatch. These Bears are allowing just 299 yards and a league low 13 points per game. They have 21 sacks, 21 takeaways and 5 touchdowns. They continue to harass quarterbacks and ballhawk in the secondary. Charles Tillman stamped his ticket for a return trip to Honolulu by shutting down Calvin 'Megatron' Johnson. Brian Urlacher was more active and effective. Through 6 games, they are by far the best defense in the league.

The Panthers are much less disruptive. They're allowing 366 yards and 24 points per game and have forced just 7 turnovers. Keep an eye on Charles Johnson who is an accomplished pass rusher off the edge. I won't waste any more of your time. The Bears get a huge edge on defense.

Special Teams

I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little surprised by Devin Hester's lack of explosiveness. The blocked field goal has me a little chapped as well. Yes, my expectations are very high for Dave Toub's guys. Despite my disappointment, the Bears get the edge on special teams.

Intangibles

Someone came up to me the other day and said, "Hey Waddle, settle down about your Bears. They haven't beaten a team with a winning record. They're beating up the weak sisters of the NFL." Know what I said to him? Take that slab of cheese off your head and shut your pie hole. You should know, my doctrine, "a championship season begins by beating the teams you're supposed to beat." The Panthers are another on that very list.

I'm not completely stupid. I recognize the schedule is gonna get a little dicey in a few weeks. We'll cross that bridge when we get there. Right now, this team is riding high, playing great defense and doing enough to get by on offense. I too want to see improvement from Jay and his friends on that side of the football. Sunday is another opportunity to tune some things up on that front. Not a layup Sunday, but not a half court shot either. The better team will win.

Prediction

Bears 30, Panthers 13

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