On Sunday, the Carolina Panthers go on the road to clash with the Chicago Bears who have been playing really good football. QB Jay Cutler and WR Brandon Marshall have been connecting on a regular basis and giving defenses a fit.
The Panthers on the other hand are not doing so well in the production department. This week they fired their GM Marty Hurney, so changes are coming. Whether it be in the form of player shake ups or more management shake ups has yet to be determined.
Defensively the Panthers suffered two more losses, with CB Chris Gamble and LB Jon Beason both out for the rest of the season. With those two losses this puts a lot of pressure on rookie LB Luke Kuechly to make plays at the line of scrimmage or in the backfield. Their defensive line is not stopping runners at the point of attack. They need to put more pressure in the backfield and make plays. That will relieve pressure of the linebackers and the secondary.
The Panthers are really going to have to play a stellar game in order to beat the Bears, because not only can they run the ball, their passing attack is on point. RB Matt Forte is a great runner with power and speed.
QB Cam Newton will have to elevate his game in order to keep up with the high powered offense of the Bears. RB’s Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams and FB Mike Tolbert will have to gain some yardage on the ground and also coming out of the backfield on short passing plays.
Coach Ron Rivera will have to do something with his whole team in order to get them to play up to their potential. Right now, offensively, defensively and on special teams the Panthers are not getting the job done.
In order for the Bears to win this game they just have to keep playing as they have in the past couple of weeks. They are running on all cylinders.
The key for the Panthers to win will be a complete team effort. This is one of their last chances to show that they have a good team and a contender in the NFC.
In my estimation the Bears will win this game, but like they say any given Sunday.
Mike Samuels, Carolina Panthers Columnist, Twitter @NFLPANTHER_ROAR and http://www.facebook.com/TheSportsDude