Sunday Snapshot: Bears vs. Panthers

The NFL experts chip in with everything you need to know ahead of Sunday afternoon's matchup between the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Keys to the game, injury reports, fast facts, personnel news, and a whole lot more.

Kickoff: Sunday, 12:00 Noon CT
Surface: Grass
Television: NBC – Sam Rosen, Tim Ryan, and Chris Myers
Series: 5th meeting. Tied 2-2, including a 29-21 Panthers victory at Soldier Field in a divisional-round playoff game after the 2005 season. Even though less than two months earlier the Bears had beaten them 13-3, getting eight sacks and two picks against Jake Delhomme.

Bears LT John St. Clair held up fairly well against Dwight Freeney last weekend and now draws Panthers DE Julius Peppers, who is motivated in his contract year. With pass protection a serious concern, the Bears will again focus on getting the ball into the hands of rookie RB Matt Forte. The 183 yards they rushed for in Week 1 was exactly 100 more than they averaged in 2007. ... Panthers owner Jerry Richardson said last January that he wanted his team patterned after the Steelers, and Carolina averaged 4.9 yards per carry in its opener. The Panthers will again be without suspended WR Steve Smith, so the ground game will be the basis of the offense. With no big-play threat downfield, Delhomme has found a new favorite target in TE Dante Rosario to move the chains.

Bears: None.

Panthers: WR/KR Ryne Robinson (knee sprain) is likely out at least another week. LG Travelle Wharton (knee sprain) sat out practice mid-week but will play.

Forte was the first Bears rookie to rush for more than 100 yards (123 vs. Colts) since Anthony Thomas in 2001. ... The Panthers are 24-24 at home under coach John Fox, compared to 28-21 on the road.

QB Kyle Orton
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Bears: CB Nathan Vasher (shoulder) practiced Thursday without limitations after missing some of Wednesday's work. ... DT Anthony Adams started all four games in the preseason and eight games this past season, but he was inactive last Sunday despite being healthy. He hasn't been told what his status is for this week's game. ... QB Kyle Orton has a third-down passer rating of 118.8, completing five of his six passes for 86 yards. ... P Brad Maynard is last in the NFL with a gross average of 35.6 yards, but he's 23rd in net average at 34.0. ... DT Tommie Harris (ankle) was limited at practice Wednesday and Thursday but is still expected to start Sunday.

Panthers: Delhomme is 5-0 in his past five starts and has completed 101 of 154 passes (65.6 percent) for 1,078 yards with 11 touchdowns and one interception, for a passer rating of 107. ... Robinson practiced on a limited basis Thursday. He probably remains a week away from getting back on the field. ... PR/KR Mark Jones could be cut Monday when the Panthers add Smith to the 53-man roster. With Robinson almost back and Smith also able to return punts, Jones will be expendable. ... Rookie S Charles Godfrey admitted Thursday he was the guilty party in giving up a 44-yard touchdown pass to Chris Chambers in his first game. However, as teammate Jon Beason said, "I think it was his only mistake. He played pretty well." Overall, Godfrey looks like he will be a pretty good player. ... Wharton missed his second straight day of practice Thursday. He's close to returning, but if the Panthers err on the side of caution, then Geoff Hangartner will get the start. ... Rosario returned to practice Thursday after missing some time with a foot sprain. He is expected to play Sunday, backing up starter Jeff King. Still, the Panthers will throw more to Rosario, last week's hero, than King.

Panthers 20, Bears 13.

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