The Chicago Bears return home to try and get their first winning streak in 2 years. Last week, the Bears upset the Ravens in over time. This week, the Bears look to take down Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Will the Bears pull off the upset two weeks in a row or will the Panthers bounce back? Kickoff inside Soldier Field is at 1 PM ET.
The Panthers (4-2) are coming off a disappointing loss to the Eagles last week. This was a battle for the top spot in the NFC, but Carolina made too many mistakes and couldn’t pull out the victory at home. The silver lining to that game is that the Panthers played on a Thursday night and now have a few extra days for rest and preparation.
The Bears (2-4) are now 2-0 against the AFC North division and look for their first winning streak since the 2015 season. They are led by their running game and overachieving defense. Will Chicago pull off the upset at home or will they fall victim to an angry Panthers team?
The spread opened with Carolina favored by 3 points and it has remained unchanged. The Over/Under opened at 41 points and has come down to 40.5 total points.
Carolina is 3-0 on the road this season and I expect them to improve that record to 4-0. The Bears are a scrappy team, but Carolina is better than Chicago on both sides of the ball. The Bears were able to run all over Baltimore last week and get the win. In fact, both of their wins this season came behind two impressive running performances from Jordan Howard. Unfortunately, that won’t happen this week.
Carolina has the 5th best run defense in the league, allowing only 83 yards per game. They will shut down Chicago’s running duo of Howard and Cohen, forcing rookie QB Trubisky to beat them. The Ravens tried to do this last week, but they’re one of the worst rush defenses in the NFL and couldn’t stop the run as Chicago totaled 231 rushing yards on the day.
Carolina holds opponents to 20 points per game, which is 3 points more than what the Bears average per game. Chicago put up their highest point total of the season in Baltimore – 27 points. This week, they will be lucky to get close to their average of 17 ppg.
Offensively, Carolina will hit the Bears with a balanced attack of run and pass. However, most of their rushing yards will probably come from Cam Newton as the Panthers average just 95 rushing yards per game. Chicago has been prone to give up 215 passing yards per game and 24 ppg. So, the Panthers will have opportunities to score.
Last week, Carolina struggled along the offensive line and fell victim to an aggressive Philadelphia Eagles defensive line. Then, Eagles QB Wentz was able to make plays and capitalize on a blitzing Panthers team. I don’t see Trubisky doing that this week and I don’t see Chicago’s defense playing as well as Philly did versus Carolina.
What this all boils down to is a bounce back game for Carolina who averages close to 28 points per game on the road. This week they will surpass that number as they rough up Trubisky and shut down Chi-town’s run game. I expect Carolina’s run game to do enough to keep the Bears front 7 honest, but this will come down to Cam’s playmaking abilities. Cam will run and throw his way to a 300+ passing performance. I can also see him getting a touchdown on the ground like he did the last few weeks. I expect Carolina to pull away in the second half and win this game 31-13.
Carolina is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 road games, 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games against Chicago, and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in Chicago.