While the Chicago Bears are rolling, the Carolina Panthers have had a miserable season thus far, complete with a postgame tirade from young quarterback Cam Newton after last week's 19-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
The Bears have won four straight games (including against the St. Louis Rams, Cowboys and Detroit Lions), while the Panthers have posted a disappointing 1-5 record.
Will the Carolina offense show some life against a menacing Bears defense, or will Newton and Co. crumble at Soldier Field?
Read on for a preview.
Where: Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
When: Sunday, Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Spread: Bears -9 (via Bovada)
I see the Bears winning by seven points in this one (see prediction below), so I wouldn't take the spread.
The Bears offense scored 13 points against the Lions last week and the Panthers defense has held opponents to a combined 35 points the past two weeks (including limiting Dallas to 19 points last week).
Over/Under: 43 (via Bovada)
I would take the "Under" here, but it's close. It really depends on whether the Panthers defense comes to play or reverts back to its Week 4 performance against the Atlanta Falcons.
Injury Report (via USA Today)
TE Ben Hartsock - Calf - Probable
CB Captain Munnerlyn - Leg - Probable
DT Dwan Edwards - Hand - Probable
DE Antwan Applewhite - Thigh - Doubtful
DE Thomas Keiser - Elbow - Doubtful
WR David Gettis - Hamstring - OUT indefinitely
QB Jay Cutler - Ribs - Probable
DB Sherrick McManis - Hip - Questionable
FB Evan Rodriguez - Knee - Questionable
WR Alshon Jeffery - Hand - OUT until at least mid-November
WR Johnny Knox - Spine - OUT until at least Week 7
S Brandon Hardin - Neck - OUT for season
Fantasy Big Plays
Panthers: Cam Newton, QB
Even with the rough season Cam Newton is having, his dual-threat ability makes him dangerous.
He's ranked 13th among quarterbacks in fantasy points this season (ESPN standard leagues) and he still managed to post 15 points against the Dallas Cowboys in last week's 19-14 loss.
I don't expect a whole lot against Chicago's vaunted defense, but if there was a Panther to choose, I'd choose Newton.
Bears: Matt Forte, RB
It's hard not to put Matt Forte here based on his ability to rack up yardage in the running game and as a receiver out of the backfield each and every week.
The Panthers are allowing 4.1 yards per carry this season (18th in the NFL) and Forte had 22 carries in each of his past two games.
Plus, the veteran has posted 371 rushing yards and three touchdowns in his past two games against Carolina.
Key to Panthers Victory: Limit Turnovers
Interestingly enough, Cam Newton has averaged 8.02 yards per pass attempt this season, third among qualifying quarterbacks.
On the other hand, he has tossed six interceptions while fumbling the ball twice and the Panthers have 13 turnovers as a team this season, tied for second-most in the NFC.
In the loss to the Cowboys last week, Newton tossed an interception and lost a fumble.
It makes his postgame tirade even more ridiculous.
Key to Bears Victory: Pass Protection
There is a way the Bears can lose this game, believe it or not.
After all, Chicago only scored 13 points last week against the Detroit Lions. In the process, Jay Cutler was sacked five times and hit nine times, while suffering a rib injury while getting planted by Ndamukong Suh.
The Panthers haven't been very good getting to the quarterback this season, registering 14 sacks (17th in the NFL).
Then again, this is the Bears' offensive line we're talking about. The Bears have allowed 19 sacks this season, tied for fifth-most in the league.
Prediction: Bears 24, Panthers 17
I expect Cam Newton and the Panthers to play better this week than they did against the Cowboys, but they are still facing a Bears defense allowing a league-best 13.0 points per game.
On top of that, I don't think the Panthers will bring the kind of pressure the Lions did against Chicago.
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