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Chicago Bears: Keys to the Game for Week 6

The Chicago Bears will face the 3-2 Carolina Panthers on Sunday after a 20-19 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Panthers are a solid team, but their three wins are against fairly subpar teams. Even so, this game will be another test for the Bears, as the Panthers cannot be taken lightly. Here are three keys to the Bears Week 6 game.

Successfully cover the Panthers running backs

A staple of the Panthers offense is throwing the ball to running backs out of the backfield. Running back Mike Davis has been a great replacement to injured superstar Christian McCaffrey, as he is efficient running and catching the football. Through 3 starts, he has 30 receptions on 33 targets, 2 receiving touchdowns, and 206 receiving yards.

Inside linebackers Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan will most likely be the players called upon to cover the Panthers running backs. Smith has done a good job in coverage this season, allowing only a 60.6 completion percentage against and a 67.6 passer rating against.

However, the Bears other inside linebacker, Danny Trevathan has struggled in coverage this season. He has allowed a 75 completion percentage and a 109.6 passer rating against.

An important part of the Panthers offense is throwing the ball to the running backs, so Roquan Smith will need to continue his success in coverage. When targeted, Danny Trevathan will also need to improve in coverage when called upon.

Offensive line needs to do well

(Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

One recent struggle for the Bears is their mediocre offensive line. Even worse, the Bears lost their best offensive lineman, James Daniels, in last week’s game. The offensive line will need to improve for the offense to have success.

Thankfully for the Bears, the Panthers have a poor pass rush. The Panthers are tied for the least amount of sacks in the NFL with 5. They also are tied for the 3rd least amount of pressure and are 3rd least in blitzes per drop back. The Bears need to take advantage of this, and give quarterback Nick Foles as much time as possible to throw the football.

The Panthers run defense is also very weak. They have the 7th most rushing yards allowed and have the 2nd highest rushing yards allowed per rush.

If the Bears offensive line can take advantage of this lackluster defensive line, they could easily have their best offensive game of the season.

Ease up on the penalties

One thing that has hurt the Bears this season is penalties. The Bears are third in defensive penalty yards, third in first downs allowed by penalty and 1st in amount of defensive penalties.

The Bears have not been much more disciplined on offense. They have committed the fourth most offensive penalties and have the fourth most offensive penalty yards in the NFL. This is a large reason for Chicago’s struggle to score.

Meanwhile, the Panthers are much more in the middle of the pack for penalties committed.

This Bears offense that often struggles to move the ball cannot continue to hurt themselves by committing penalties. A large part of their win last week against the Buccaneers was Tampa Bay’s shared tendency to foul. Chicago cannot expect this again from a more disciplined Panthers team.


The Panthers are a solid team, but not true playoff contenders. The Bears cannot take them lightly, but if Chicago does not slip up too much, they should win this game.

Bears 27 – Panthers 20

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