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Chicago Bears-Carolina Panthers: NFC North Betting

Walker DanielsCorrespondent IOctober 7, 2010

Brian Urlacher
Brian UrlacherJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The whole sports world is pulling for Carolina rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen to succeed. He seems like a nice kid that has the potential to make an impact on the NFL betting world. It can even be speculated that the Chicago Bears wish Clausen well in his NFL career, but they won’t be wishing him well in Week 5. In Week 5, the Bears pass rush will introduce Clausen to the man’s brand of football that is played in the NFL.

Clausen is in a tough situation in Carolina. The Panthers let their star pass rusher go when Julius Peppers signed with the Bears. The Carolina offensive line is a mish-mash of starters and backups that are not offering their rookie quarterback a whole lot of protection. For receivers Clausen has Steve Smith, and that is about it. He has no sure-handed fullback out of the backfield or talented tight end to check down to. If Clausen cannot throw the ball deep to Smith, he is in big trouble.

The Bears' most evident weakness to the football betting world is their offense. While the Bears pass rush defense ranks 27th in the league, their rushing offense is 31st. The Bears passing game is 25th. What could be the reason for a bad passing game and a bad rushing game? The quarterback, perhaps? Jay Cutler takes a lot of flack for the Bears' offensive woes, but he is not the problem. The problem is the Bears offensive line.

Bears running back Matt Forte is a good back, but when there is nowhere to run you wind up with a rushing offense ranked 31st. The other problem people seem to be ignoring is that the Bears' primary wide receiver, Devin Hester, is listed at 5’11”. That may be exaggerating a bit. Hester has great speed, but he needs to get extra separation from the defensive back to get open due to his lack of height. As a matter of fact, the tallest Bears receiver is Devin Aromashodu at 6’2”. That hampers the Chicago long passing game.

But without a pass rush in Carolina, the NFL picks still will side with the Bears in this game. The axe is waiting to swing on the head coaching job of John Fox in Carolina. It is not completely Fox’s fault, he really has not had much to work with the last couple of years. But his insistence on sticking with Jake Delhomme when it was obvious that Delhomme had lost his Super Bowl touch is probably what did Fox in more than anything else.

In this Northbet game the Panthers will be serving up their rookie quarterback on a poorly protected silver platter to the Bears defense. An old Carolina friend in Julius Peppers will look to personally dismantle the quarterback that came to the Panthers after Peppers left the team. Peppers knows that offensive line and he knows the tendencies of running back DeAngelo Williams. For Peppers, this game will be like shooting Panthers in a barrel.

Pick: Chicago Bears 27-10

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