Chicago Bears (6-3)
Carolina Panthers (7-2)
PS-Points Scored,PA-Points Allowed,TO-Total Offense,TD-Total Defense,TR-Turnover Ratio
Both teams are coming into this game with winning streaks. The Bears have won 5 straight, while the Panthers have won 6. In the overall scheme of things it is not important that the Bears win this game. It is, however, important that they have a good showing. They need to prove to themselves that they can play with the big boys. A win would be a big boost of confidence coming into the tougher parts of the schedule. Plus, it means I don't have to listen to those morons who were proven wrong when the Bears started winning, say they were right all along.
This game is more than any depends on balance. The Panthers have the 2nd best run defense in the league, so they have the horses to slow down Thomas Jones and Adrian Peterson, but their pass defense is not that great. The Bears need to be efficent through the air. The Panthers line is one of the fastest and most aggressive in the game. If you can utilize the short passing game and stretch the field horizontally you can get their line running. They can be tired out quickly if done properly. Muhammad is going to be looking to have a big game against his old team, so go to him early and often. Get him on a roll. The Bears offensive line has become a monster and I think they are looking to show that this fight business is not as big as it sounds, so they are going to come out fired up and it is a good thing, becuase they are the key to this game. They are going to need to be at their best to open up holes and keep the pass rush off of Orton. Thomas Jones and Desmond Clark are going to be really important to Orton this game. They should both have at least 4-5 catches.
The plan here should be simple. Double Steve Smith on every down. Don't ever let him get off the line with out jamming him. Do anything else you can to get him off tilt. If Colbert beats us, so be it, but do not allow Smith to beat us. The defensive line can do a lot to cause problems for the Panthers. If they can get to Delhomme early, they can make him look away from the long ball and create a much smaller field. The Panthers are averaging only 3.2 yards per carry, so we shouldn't have to change too much to stop their run game, but Davis does need to be watched. He cuts back as well as any, so if we back too far off the line or over persue, he could break some big runs.
On Special Teams
After last week, I am happy if you can just not turn the ball over. If you give us good field position, then great, but don't fumble.