Bears vs. Panthers predictions: Another TNF win coming up? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
DJ Moore takes on his former team. Chicago will get an up-close look at Bryce Young, the quarterback that GM Ryan Poles decided not to draft this year. The Bears have a chance to bury the Panthers in the standings and solidify the first-round draft pick they acquired from Carolina in the offseason at the same time. Even though Thursday night’s game is a matchup between two bad teams, there are several reasons to watch. And one of these two teams has to win. Here’s how the Under Center Podcast crew sees it shaking out.
Primetime Bears Football!!!! This will be a double whammy! You have a Bears team with an improved offensive line and run defense, going up against one of the worst teams in the NFL. Plus, the Bears own the Panthers’ first pick in this upcoming NFL draft. I don't know if I have been this comfortable predicting a Bears victory this entire season (I have not). Panthers rookie Bryce Young has yet to look like the prospect the Panthers expected moving up to take at No. 1 in the last NFL draft. Young has a passing rating of 77.1 and has thrown eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. He basically gifted the Colts a victory this past Sunday with three interceptions, two of which were pick-sixes.
Now Tyson Bagent had turnover issues himself last week, with four turnovers and a fumble returned for a touchdown versus the Saints. But, Bagent also played well enough in the first half of the game that at times it seemed as if the Bears offense was unstoppable with him under center. Running Back Miles Sanders hasn't been one hundred percent healthy, giving way to Chuba Hubbard getting most of the carries. Both backs only have one touchdown this season apiece. And the Bears have a nice run defense to slow down both backs' production.
Anyway Bears 28 - 17. Also, shoutout Ruthie Polinsky from NBC Sports Chicago’s Football Aftershow for joining us this week and predicting a double digit Bears victory. Alex and I are rolling with Ruthie!!
The Bears can’t get out of their own. They lead the NFL in turnovers, are tied for the lead in penalties, are third in pre-snap penalties, third in penalty yards against, last in sacks, and 24th in turnovers forced. They are sloppy, poorly coached, and, apart from two games, fail to execute in key moments.
There’s no reason to pick them.
And yet, the Panthers are abominable.
Bryce Young ranks 32nd in the NFL in QBR and is coming off a game in which he threw two pick-sixes. They are without Brian Burns and C.J. Henderson and likely will be without D.J. Chark. The Panthers rank eighth in total defense but rank 31st in turnovers forced.
Tyson Bagent has done a lot of good things in his first three starts, but the turnovers have cost the Bears. If he can take care of the ball Thursday, the Bears should be able to win. But should is doing a lot of work.
Hell with it, give me the Bears. Cairo Santos wins it at the horn.
Bears 20, Panthers 17
The Bears have not been good, and picking against them has been good business, but the Panthers look every bit the worst team in the NFL. No. 1 draft pick Bryce Young has struggled throughout the season. His 77.1 QBR ranks 35th among all QBs who have thrown at least 50 passes. The run defense has been porous. The Panthers have surrendered the second most rushing touchdowns in the league (14) and tied for the eighth-most rushing yards per carry (4.4). That plays to the Bears’ strengths. Further, the Panthers are tied for the fourth-fewest sacks (17) and will be playing without their best pass rusher, Brian Burns.
If Tyson Bagent and the offense can cut down on the penalties and turnovers, even just a little bit, they should have no problem getting a win.
Bears: 27, Panthers: 17