This is a primetime game that probably doesn’t have too many football fans outside of Chicago or Charlotte excited. In fact, it probably doesn’t have football fans excited in Chicago or Charlotte either, it’s just that those fans will actually watch the game since these are their teams.
With the Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears set to face off on Amazon’s Thursday Night Football, we sat down with Walker Clement of Cat Scratch Reader to help us get a little insight into what’s going on down in Carolina this season, especially considering that 2024 Panthers number one pick is headed to Chicago.
1. I’m not going to bury the lede, Bears fans are thrilled with how much the Panthers are struggling, being their first round pick is in Chicago. Are Panthers fans upset in hindsight that the Panthers traded up to number one?
Yes and no. Panthers fans are notorious for arguing amongst ourselves. The only real uniting opinion we have is that the New Orleans Saints can get wrecked. There are still plenty of fans who agree that the trade, or at least *a trade*, to number one needed to happen.
Most of the true ire is reserved for the people perceived as calling the shots in Charlotte. Some people hate general manager Scott Fitterer. Others lay the blame solely at the feet of owner David Tepper. Still more think that head coach Frank Reich was a terrible hire. Plenty hate a combination of all of the above.
With that in mind, it’s not surprising that many fans are just upset in general and are happy to throw shade on any and every big move this franchise has made in recent years. It’s hard to blame them, given how recent years have gone.
2. As Bears fans, we understand the pain of taking the wrong QB, selecting Mitch Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes. Are Panthers fans worried that Carolina made that same mistake with Bryce Young over CJ Stroud?
The aforementioned rabble are certainly roused. Some people are using Young’s struggles to point the finger at Reich. There are also numerous Stroud Boys in our comments who want to march on Bank of America Stadium and force the team to somehow go back and draft C.J. Stroud.
It is too early to judge Young, but the results this season do speak for themselves. Young was sold to Panthers fans as the most pro-ready quarterback in history with an “All-Star” coaching staff to shepherd him into the league. Instead, he can barely complete a pass while Stroud is out there lighting up the rookie record books. So, yeah, fans are worried about every level of the Panthers’ organization and that includes Young’s future.
3. It’s only one year and there are plenty of other issues with the team, but is it possible Frank Reich will be one and done in Carolina?
I need to stop answering your questions before you ask them, but yes, it is possible. The “All-Star” coaching staff around Young and company has shown absolutely zero in terms of success or sustained progress this season. The Panthers are honestly hard to watch right now and Reich, as head coach, carries the responsibility for that.
4. Do you expect Brian Burns to be in Carolina long-term? I know he’s banged up this week, but it seems the way Carolina has handled his contract extension hasn’t been the best and Burns doesn’t particularly seem happy about it either.
I do not expect Burns to stay in Carolina. He has, at most, two years ahead of him on the franchise tag. I do expect the Panthers to bungle the next steps whenever they do try to finish negotiating his contract or ultimately pursue a trade. I expect that because that is what this team has taught us to expect and I, like most fans, am done telling myself things will be better next year. I’ll believe good things when I see them. Brian Burns is a good thing, so I cannot believe in his future with the Panthers.
5. Obviously, it’s two struggling teams on Thursday Night Football, are there any particular bets on DraftKings that you like from a Panthers’ perspective? How do you think the game plays out?
If you can’t tell from the tone of my other answers, the Panthers are nearing (hopefully) rock bottom. Fans know it. Players know it. I really hope the leadership of the team knows it. They have to decide if they are a team that can hit bottom and rebound or if they are a team who is going to settle in at the bottom and wallow in their own ineptitude.
A short week against an also bad team could be a great time for the Panthers to find their fighting spirit. Alas, I will refer you to my last answer. The Panthers finding their fighting spirit would be a good thing. I can’t believe in those in advance. I’m expecting a competitive first quarter followed by three quarters of the Bears winning in spite of their best efforts.
As for bets around the Panthers, just bet against them. The only positive bet for the Panthers is to bet the over on kicking points for Eddie Pineiro (5.5). He’s hit that mark almost every week.
Well, if you wanted to find a fan base more agitated and jaded than the Bears, it might just be the Carolina Panthers. The Bears have been holding as a 3.5-point favorite all week. We will just have to wait and see who is under center at quarterback for Chicago.
And as always, if you want to place a little wager on the game, DraftKings Sportsbook has you covered.