The Bears have a 4-1 record after eking out a 1-point win over the Buccaneers on Thursday, but that record may flatter them.
Up next, the Bears are on the road to face the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, who oddsmakers have made the favorites.
Former Bears offensive lineman James “Big Cat” Williams has three key takes on the game against the Panthers.
1. Offensively take care of the little things. This is something that coach Matt Nagy talked about this week. Coach Nagy didn’t call out anyone specifically, but when I hear something like that I immediately think as an ex-offensive lineman something like head placement on run plays, taking the proper sets on pass play depending on the depth of the quarterback’s drop. It could be a skilled position issue, like a route that calls for you to run seven yards and make your break. You can’t take it upon yourself to run five yards or nine yards before the break. On the seventh step, make your break. Cutting the route off too soon or extending it too far throws off the timing between the specialists and the quarterback.
2. Defensively the Bears need to tighten up against the run. Right now, they are giving up around 4.4 yards a carry and just last week compared to the Buccaneers’ Ronald Jones who averaged over 6 yards a carry. At the nose guard or defensive tackle position, depending on how they’re lined up, you can’t get rooted out of your gap. The linebackers or even a safety in the box has to make the tackle when he has that opportunity at the line of scrimmage or behind it.
3. The last two weeks the Bears have played two of the better front sevens in the NFL this season. They have a chance to get back on track in the run game against a Panthers defense that’s giving up over five yards a carry and 133 yards a game. With James Daniels being ruled out for the rest of the season it could be a great time to get (left tackle) Charles Leno Jr, (left guard) Alex Bars who is Daniels’ replacement and (center) Cody Whitehair some good time working together.
Prediction: Bears 27, Panthers 24