"It should be a lot higher than what it is," offensive coordinator Ron Turner said of the third down and 1 percentage. "We were good earlier in the year. We haven't been very good lately. It's an area we've got to get better on."
As with the rest of the offense, the Bears hope the increased passing threat with QB Rex Grossman behind center will make life easier on RB Thomas Jones. The Panthers held Tiki Barber to 41 yards rushing a week ago and forced Eli Manning into three interceptions in the second half.
"They game planned for him, to stop the run obviously and their quarterback didn't play well," Jones said of what Carolina did against New York. "I think if their quarterback would have made some better plays that would have opened up some things for Tiki, plus they had 3 or 4 turnovers. You definitely can't win with turnovers in the playoffs."
The Panthers dominated time of possession against the Giants last week by bottling Barber up early and getting their own running game into a groove. That gameplan should prove much more difficult against a healthy Bears defense allowing just 3.7 yards per carry.
"We're not the Giants," said Chicago MLB Brian Urlacher. "We feel like we're pretty good against the run."
Although DeShaun Foster wasn't the featured ball carrier, Chicago held Carolina to 55 rushing yards during the regular season meeting.
"He's great in space. He's a really quick guy, a make you miss guy," LB Hunter Hillenmeyer said of Foster. "He spins out of a lot of tackles and they've got a few guys that they like to get the ball in their hands and he's one of those guys."
WR Steve Smith caught 169 yards worth of passes, he didn't get into the end zone. The Bears' corners again will be happy to led Smith have the receptions in front of them as long as they prevent back-breaking big plays.
"Tackle him," defensive coordinator Ron Rivera said of how to stop Smith. "A young man like that with that kind of quickness and ability you've first of all not allow the ball to get to him whether it's with the pass rush or just with the coverage and knowing where he is in terms of the safeties and linebackers helping."