Bears go into Carolina to play the winless Panthers. They are looking to right the ship after getting completely dominated last Sunday against the Giants. What should be an easy game on paper will be a bit of a challenge because the Bears are without Jay Cutler. Todd Collins steps in his place to manage the game. To the Panthers' credit, they played the New Orleans Saints tough and almost came away with win, if it were not for a game winning field goal by John Carney.
While many are more impressed with Caleb Hanie's youth and athleticism, Collins is more familiar with Mike Martz's system and is a career backup quarterback. What in the world is a career backup quarterback? He is someone who could come into the game at a drop of a dime with very little preparation and manage the game without being too gun shy and keeping mistakes to a minimum. Hanie was originally the backup but got hurt in the preseason and that halted his progression and learning Martz's system.
This game will also be an opportunity for the Bears to get the running game started. The Bears' 29th ranked running game go up against the Panthers' 20th ranking rushing defense. Matt Forte and Chester Taylor have been almost nonexistent.
The Bears defense get their first look rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen. The Panthers will be without Steve Smith due to injury and recently released Dwayne Jarrett, after a DWI charge. Clausen is throwing to three rookie wide receivers so this game could go south for the Panthers if the Bears can pressure Clausen.
Expect the Panthers to lean on the dynamic running back combination of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. This will be the most talented pair the Bears will see all season. The Bears will be tested as their defense gave up 189 rushing yards against the Giants, the most given up this season.
Julius Peppers will play against the team he was drafted by and should come out with a little extra motivation. He was often criticized for taking plays off. From what we've seen, he's an absolute monster and is worth every penny. Sure he only has 2 sacks in 4 games, but how many false starts does he causes, quarterback pressures and tackles for losses. Besides, the guys is getting double teamed every single play. Chris Harris also returns to the Panthers as he was traded from the Bears to the Panthers and traded back to the Bears.
Final verdict? Bears 24 Panthers 13.