When Dallas beat the Panthers they only had 71 yards rushing. You hold Carolina's ground game under 100 yards and they're very beatable. The Bears limited them to 54 yards on the ground. I'm guaranteeing Deshaun Foster runs for less than 60 yards, but that's when they'll turn to Steve Smith.
The bottom line with Smith is keep him in front of you and don't let him get in the end zone. He caught 14 balls in the first go around but the Bears didn't let him score.
If you get a game from Rex Grossman similar to what Kyle Orton had against the Panthers, the Bears will win. Orton had one of his better games against Carolina. He threw for a touchdown and only turned the ball over one time. When two teams are evenly matched, you can't have turnovers. There's no doubt the Bears will be conservative but not as much as they were with Orton.
Carolina is going to attack Chicago's offense the same way they did the Giants and Eli Manning. The Panthers will come into the box and try to stop the run. It's up to Grossman to make a play when that happens. Carolina is real good against the run so that's where you're going need to execute in order to take advantage of one-on-one coverage. Taking pressure off the line of scrimmage will open holes for Thomas Jones.
Both defenses are good so the game will come down to quarterback play. Lets be honest, Jake Delhomme lost the last game by throwing two early picks. You can't do that. When Carolina got down 10-0 early they gave up on the running game and that's why the Bears got to Delhomme for 8 sacks. He will be more careful with the ball on Sunday. They'd rather see the game tied 3-3 because whoever makes the mistakes will lose.
The Bears can't make mistakes like they did against Minnesota with a blocked punt or field goal being called back because of a holding penalty. There's no room for error because it's one and done.
The tackling has to be sharp and keep the yards after catch down. Not wrapping up on Smith could cost you six because of his great speed.
In the first matchup, the Bears had hey two things going in their favor. They were fired up because there was a lack of respect and it was their chance to prove people wrong. They came out and played inspired football.
There's been some talk going back and forth between the teams this week. None of that really matters now. One team will move on and the other will go home.
I went 4-0 over the weekend so I feel like I have a pretty good handle on things right now. If the Bears score 20 points you can take it to the bank, especially since they only gave up 61 points in 8 games at Soldier Field.
It's time the Bears remind people how good they are.