The Bears will walk into Bank of America Stadium on Sunday without their Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler (concussion) and they will rely on 15 year journey man Todd Collins to operate out of the pivot position. The (3-1) Chicago Bears will attempt to avenge their 2008 defeat to the hands of the (0-4) Carolina Panthers, kickoff slated for 1 PM EST. The Panthers have absolutely owned this head to head series in recent years, including the 2006 NFC Championship game. DE Julius Peppers is looking forward to returning to his old stomping grounds and will want to prove to his old employer that they should have pursued him more.
The Chicago Bears are coming off a very ugly loss to the New York Giants, a game that witnessed the exit of QB Jay Cutler at halftime due to a concussion. The Bears defense was the only saving grace against the Giants as the offense had no answers for a swarming New York pass rush. The Bears defense has been rejuvenated from the return of Brian Urlacher and from the acquisition of free agent DE Julius Peppers, and also from the fact that the defense is staying healthy. There’s more of a hunger in this year’s defense than last year’s, and it’s definitely showing by the way they’re playing. Jay Cutler has been held out of many practices and media sessions this week and all signs point to veteran QB Todd Collins getting the nod. Collins came in last week after halftime and was absolutely brutal, Mike Martz could not get the 15-year journeyman going at all. The Bears will need to apply and incorporate a manageable game plan for Collins in order for the windy city bunch to exit Carolina with 4 wins already on the 2010 schedule.
Let it be known, the Carolina Panthers are struggling. They’re starting Jimmy Clausen, a rookie quarterback who has yet to find that he has a Pro Bowl wide receiver in Steve Smith. They are worst in points scored per game with 11.5 and 30th in total yards, averaging 258.2 yards per game. Head coach John Fox is on the hot seat and could find himself without a headset on before seasons end. Carolina’s running game is the only thing working for them at this point in the season. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have picked up from the 2009 campaign and producing solid numbers on the ground, which is taking some of the burden off of Clausen. The Panthers released receiver Dwayne Jarrett on Tuesday following his second DWI arrest in less than three years. Jarrett was expected to play a role Sunday with Smith banged up, but Carolina may be forced to start rookies David Gettis and Brandon LaFell at receiver to go with its first-year quarterback.
Bears vs Panthers Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Chicago Bears +2.5
@ Carolina Panthers -2.5
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Bears vs Panthers Prediction for Week 5:
Spread Prediction (TOP PLAY) – The Chicago Bears showed the rest of the league last Sunday night that they are not a legitimate force, as of yet at least. There were glaring weaknesses on the offensive line, which lead to QB Jay Cutler being forced to exit with a concussion and there were breakdowns in special teams coverage’s. However, the Bears do possess a powerful defense that will keep them in most games they play this year. Last weeks game should have been an ugly beating by the Giants but the Bears defense made up for the inept Bears offense and kept them in the game. Carolina, although they looked fairly impressive last week against the defending Superbowl champions, are not a solid football team. They have lost 4 of the last 5 games they have played and are still trying to work in a rookie quarterback in Jimmy Clausen. The Bears, however, have lost only once in their last 5 games and should be able to frustrate a young and inexperienced rookie quarterback. I would recommend taking a look at snagging the points with the Bears in this NFC struggle.
Game Total Prediction – This game has all the intentions and explanations to be a game that plays UNDER the number. However, these two teams have a history of lighting up the scoreboard when they clash and I believe this trend will continue Sunday. Bears QB Todd Collins will be getting the start on Sunday and with a week of first team practice under his belt he should be able to fill Cutlers void accordingly. Collins has been around the league for some time now, which means the man does know a thing or two about the pivot position. I look for him to manage the game quiet nicely and put the Bears in several scoring situations. The two-headed threat of RB DeAngelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart always poses the potential to put up serious points for the Panthers. We will consider the OVER in this Sunday afternoon affair.
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