|GAME TIME||1:00 PM EST|
KEY PLAYER BEARS: TARIK COHEN
Tarik Cohen, the electric rookie running back out of North Carolina A&T, has been making defenders miss all season long. He has been a big play machine this year, and even threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Miller last week. Cohen is a similar player to Christian McCaffrey, and can be used in multiple ways. The Panthers will need to contain Cohen on Sunday if they hope to get back in the win column.
PANTHERS KEY PLAYER: Shaq Thompson
The man likely tasked with covering Tarik Cohen on Sunday will be the versatile outside linebacker, Shaq Thompson. It is not likely that Luke Kuechly will clear the concussion protocol in time for Sunday’s game, so David Mayo will likely start in his place. Kuechly’s absence puts extra pressure on the other Panthers’ linebackers to contain the dynamic Cohen, especially Thompson, who drops back in coverage more often than Mayo or Thomas Davis. If Cohen is running a pattern out of the backfield, it will likely be Thompson’s primary job to cover him.
GAME PREVIEW AND ANALYSIS
Caution: Trap Game! The Panthers need to bring their A-game against a Bears team that has been giving teams all they can handle this season. Carolina cannot afford a let-down after a disappointing loss to the Eagles, because the Bears will make them pay. This is a young but talented team, and despite that 2-4 record, they are always an upset threat. Expect head coach Ron Rivera to have his team ready to play on Sunday, and the Panthers to get a bounce back win.
GAME PREDICTION: Panthers 27, Bears 16