The Chicago Bears are coming off a huge win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They’ll be on the road against the red-hot Carolina Panthers, who have won their last three without their star running back Christian McCaffery.
The Panthers are coming into Sunday as 3.5-point home favorites. The moneyline for Carolina has been set at -120, and Chicago is +120 for the matchup. The over/under has been set at 44.5 points.
Defense, Defense, and More Defense
When the quarterback controversy arose in Chicago, critics began to write off the Bears. Mitch Trubisky led the team to an undefeated start but was benched in Week 3, and Nick Foles took over for the Bears.
Foles has been a game manager at best, but Matt Nagy’s game plans have been vital for his team’s success. The Bears have been relying on their defense in 2020. Their defense is ranked in the top 10, which was evident against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers last week.
The defense didn’t allow Brady to get into a rhythm, and this helped the struggling Bears offense to score the minimum amount to win the contest. David Montgomery has been the one bright spot for the Bears offense. He hasn’t put up huge numbers, but he has made the necessary plays to lead the Bears to a 4-1 record.
Filling the Void
All-pro running back McCaffery went down in Week 2 in a loss against the Buccaneers. The Panthers started 0-2, and when McCaffery went down, everyone believed more losing would be in their future. Although, this was the wrong diagnosis, and the Panthers have ripped off three straight wins.
Teddy Bridgewater has done a great job stepping up his production since McCaffery’s injury. His effort, along with solid performances by Carolina’s offensive line, has made this offense the 6th ranked unit in the league.
They’ll need McCaffery back soon to be successful in the long term, but give Matt Rhule a lot of credit for what he has done without his best player the past three weeks.
Both these teams are playing solid football, so I expect this to be a great game to watch. The key for the Bears will be to get Montgomery going early. He has shown his ability to make plays, but consistency will be required against the Panthers on Sunday.
He’ll need to catch the ball out of the backfield and rip off explosive runs to take a little pressure off of this Bears defense. The Bears defense is a very talented group, but I believe Carolina will still be able to score.
The Bears will need to play complementary football to win on Sunday. They will also need to keep Bridgewater in the pocket and not let his mobility beat their unit. The Bear’s front seven were ruthless against the Buccaneers offensive line, but Bridgewater can move a lot better than Tom Brady.
I think the Bears play great defense this week, and David Montgomery has one of the best outings of his season thus far.
I’m taking the Bears at +120 for an upset and over 44.5 points.