Rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky has faced tough assignments in his first two starts for the Chicago Bears, and now the opposition gets even tougher. Trubisky and the Bears host the Carolina Panthers and their excellent defense on Sunday. Get the latest Panthers vs Bears NFL odds direct from Las Vegas with WagerTalk Live Lines. Make sure to check out our NFL database where you can look up historic results/stats for millions of NFL handicapping situations.
The Bears haven’t asked too much of Trubisky in his first two starts, as he has passed for only 241 yards with two touchdowns and one interception while primarily focusing on handing off to Jordan Howard. “As a quarterback, you want to be throwing the ball,” Trubisky told reporters. “But as a competitor and a leader of this team, you’re going to do whatever it takes to win. If it’s running the ball, if it’s passing the ball, whatever it is, that’s what we’re going to do.” Leaning on the ground game might not be a viable option against the Panthers, who rank fifth in the NFL against the run and allow just 3.4 yards per carry. Carolina had a two-game winning streak snapped with a 28-23 loss to Philadelphia last week.
CAROLINA PANTHERS (4-2): Carolina has been inconsistent on offense, as quarterback Cam Newton is the only player with a rushing touchdown – he has three – and the ground game has totaled only 108 yards over the last two games. Newton could be without one of his top receivers Sunday with Kelvin Benjamin listed as questionable with a knee injury. The Panthers’ defense has been stout but might be without leading tackler Luke Kuechly, who left last week’s game with a concussion.
CHICAGO BEARS (2-4): Chicago’s defense has been solid, ranking sixth in total defense, but the team’s 14 turnovers have led to too many easy points. The Bears forced a season-high three turnovers last week but still are 31st in the league in turnover margin at minus-8. Howard and rookie Tarik Cohen have proven to form an excellent backfield duo, but the passing game hasn’t shown much life regardless of who is under center.
1. Panthers DE Julius Peppers has registered 150 career sacks and needs one more to move past Chris Doleman for fourth place on the all-time list.
2. Bears TE Zach Miller and Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey each have caught a touchdown pass in consecutive games.
3. Howard has recorded 995 scrimmage yards and eight rushing touchdowns in his last eight home games.
NFL PREDICTION: Panthers 20, Bears 13