clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Panthers vs Bears defensive preview: The Panthers defense has a chance to look really good

The Bears are probably the least potent offense the Panthers have faced so far, which is a welcome sight.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers are rolling, and that’s partly because their defense has stiffened up just enough to let the offense outscore the opposition. Through five weeks, the Panthers defense has faced a series of dangerous offense, from up and comers in the Chargers and Cardinals to more established threats in the Raiders, Buccaneers, and Falcons. They haven’t been world beaters by any means, but they’ve done well enough to help the Panthers to three straight wins.

This week, the Panthers get a visit from the Chicago Bears, whose offense is a perpetual dumpster fire. They spent a fourth round pick and a lot of cap space to acquire Nock Foles only to put him behind Mitchell Trubisky on the depth chart. That didn’t last, as Trubisky predictably struggled once again. Foles led the Bears to a historic comeback win over the Falcons in his debut, but the offense has sputtered in the two weeks since.

In two weeks with Foles as a starter, the Bears are averaging 15.5 points and 256.0 yards per game. For reference, those marks would rank 32nd and 31st in the league respectively. It’s by far the weakest offense the Panthers have faced, and here’s how they can make it a successful day at the office:

  • Manufacture pressure without Brian Burns. It hasn’t been confirmed yet, but it’s rare to see players make it back from the concussion protocol in just one week. Burns has just two sacks on the season, but he’s been one of the more disruptive pass rushers in the league this season. The Panthers will likely need contributions from less heralded players to get pressure on Nick Foles, but Foles’ complete lack of mobility will help with that.
  • Contain Allen Robinson. The Bears have exactly one big threat in the passing game, and that’s Robinson. The former Pro Bowler might be one of the most underrated offensive players in the league. He’s not the fastest, but he’s a monster at outworking defenders for deep balls, and he’s thrived regardless of his quarterback. He’s currently eighth in the league in receiving yards and sixth in catches. The Bears don’t really have anyone else that scares you as a defense, so the Panthers can dedicate extra attention to taking away Robinson.
  • Don’t let the Bears get their run game on track. The Bears aren’t the worst team in the league when it comes to calling run plays at bad times, but they aren’t great at it. They run often on early downs despite their inability to do so efficiently. The Panthers struggled to contain Todd Gurley last week. They have to do better against David Montgomery, who is not Todd Gurley.