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Chicago Bears vs. Carolina Panthers Gameday Preview

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Chicago Bears vs. Carolina Panthers Gameday Preview

Brandon Marshall
Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

The Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers are a very connected franchise. In addition to playing each other the past three seasons, the teams always seem to be involved in deals. The latest one seems to have indirectly paid dividends to the Bears. Brandon Marshall (pictured above) came courtesy of two third-round draft choices from the Miami Dolphins. Interestingly enough, one of those two third-round selections was courtesy of the Panthers. This pick came of course in the Greg Olsen trade from last season. The two teams have also swapped former NFL safety and big mouth Chris Harris twice. Let's not also forget that head coach Ron Rivera is a former Bear as well and his latest tenure came as head coach Lovie Smith's defensive coordinator.

While walking down memory lane is fun, there is a game to be played today. The Bears enter this contest at 5-1 and leading the NFC North. The Panthers are 1-5 and hold the league's worst record. It was supposed to be a huge season for the Panthers, and things just have fallen apart. The biggest culprit in all of this seems second-year quarterback Cam Newton. Last season, Newton had a strong rookie campaign. And while his numbers this season aren't horrific (101 for 177 for 1,387 yards 5 TD 6 INTs 3 rushing TDs), he has fumbled the ball six times (three lost). This is one more than his whole total from last season. Newton has also acquired Foot-in-Mouth disease. Whenever he's on television, he is saying (or doing) something stupid. His latest snafu was suggesting that all of the criticism he's receiving is racial (this has been retracted and re-submitted, so I do not know where we stand at this point). I was a Newton fan when he entered this league, felt he did recevie a lot of unfair criticism after being drafted but I do not think it had anything to do with race. It seems it comes from having a bit of a checkered past.

We've all heard the saying, any given Sunday, but today isn't one of those days. The Bears are the better football team. Plus, the Panthers are in total disarray at the moment. In addition to firing their General Manager this week, Rivera is on the hotseat as well. This team is worse than their 1-5 record suggests, so look for the Bears to flex their muscles a bit today. And if you like running the football, you will love the Matt Forte and Michael Bush show.

Here are other things to watch today. Follow me on Twitter @ChicagoBearJew and Hashtag #RML with your thoughts. I will be in attendance today, so I will do my best to keep the news flowing.

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Optimus Prime

Charles Tillman
Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE

If Calvin Johnson is Megatron, than Charles Tillman is Optimus Prime of Autobot fame (thank you Transformers). Tillman has been one of if not the league's best corner this season. However, the Panthers always present Tillman with issues. Tillman covers bigger receivers well, but not the smaller-faster guys. Steve Smith is a real thorn in his side. So I am looking for this to be one of Tillman's more quiet games today.

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Steve Smith

Steve Smith
Kevin Liles-US PRESSWIRE

Smith is a dangerous receiver. He's fast, tough and his size allows him to sneak around the field. As I said before, he is a real match-up problem for Tillman and the Bears. If the Panthers have any prayer today, and this may be a long-shot, Smith is the one fear for the Bears.

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D.J. Moore

D.J. Moore
Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

So with Smith being my fear, look for a lot of D.J. Moore. Moore may not be the biggest guy on the field, but he is fast and really solid in coverage especially against smaller receivers. I am predicting a Moore interception today. How do you like dem apples?

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Greg Olsen

Greg Olsen
Kevin Liles-US PRESSWIRE

Olsen isn't one of my favorite players in the league (thanks for the autographed helmet you promised me windbag). But he will catch the ball (and fumble or drop key passes). And if you think Forte or Kellen Davis can't block, watch Olsen sometime. He still has to be recognized as one of the Panther's better players. But as you'll see, I've got the solution.

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Nick Roach

Nick Roach
Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

My man Nick Roach will be Olsen's worst nightmare today. Roach has quietly had a great season, and the fun will continue today.