Bears and Panthers meet in a matchup between teams with 2 of the NFL's 5 worst records
Wed, Nov 8, 2023
NFL News (AP)
CAROLINA (1-7) at CHICAGO (2-7)
Thursday, 8:15 p.m. EST, Amazon Prime
BETTING LINE: Bears by 1 1/2, according to FanDuel SportsBook.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Panthers 1-6-1; Bears 3-5-1.
SERIES RECORD: Bears lead 7-4.
LAST MEETING: Bears beat Panthers 23-16 on Oct. 18, 2020, in Charlotte.
LAST WEEK: Panthers lost to Indianapolis 27-13; Bears lost to New Orleans 24-17.
PANTHERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (28), RUSH (24), PASS (27), SCORING (26).
PANTHERS DEFENSE: OVERALL (8), RUSH (28), PASS (5), SCORING (T31).
BEARS OFFENSE: OVERALL (19), RUSH (4), PASS (24), SCORING (19).
BEARS DEFENSE: OVERALL (19), RUSH (4), PASS (28), SCORING (T28).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Panthers minus-4; Bears minus-9.
PANTHERS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Bryce Young. Young is coming off his worst game as a pro, throwing three interceptions against the Indianapolis Colts, including two that were returned for touchdowns. The Colts entered the game as the league's 32nd-ranked defense. Young has thrown eight touchdown passes and seven interceptions and is 1-6 as a starter. Despite the No. 1 overall pick's struggles, Panthers coach Frank Reich said he has no plans to bench Young for veteran Andy Dalton.
BEARS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Tyson Bagent or Justin Fields. The big question is whether Fields is back in the lineup or Bagent makes his fourth straight start. Fields, who returned to practice Friday, hasn't played since dislocating his right thumb during a Week 6 loss to Minnesota. The Bears are 1-2 with Bagent - an undrafted rookie from Division II Shepherd University in West Virginia - as their starter. He has thrown for 697 yards, three touchdowns and six interceptions in four games. Bagent was picked off three times and lost a fumble last week.
KEY MATCHUP: Bears WR DJ Moore vs. Carolina's banged-up secondary. The most recent time D.J. Moore played on Thursday night, he had eight receptions for a career-high 230 yards and three touchdowns against the Washington Commanders in Week 5. This time, Moore faces his former team, which traded him to Chicago as part of a package that allowed Carolina to move up eight spots in the draft to get Young. The Panthers also sent their first-round pick in the 2024 draft to Chicago. Carolina's secondary is banged up with both Jaycee Horn (hamstring/IR) and C.J. Henderson (concussion) out this week, meaning Moore could be in for a another big game in prime time.
KEY INJURIES: The Panthers will be without OLB Brian Burns and CB C.J. Henderson, who have been ruled out with concussions suffered in Sunday's loss to the Colts. Several other key defensive players are on injured reserve, leaving the Panthers thin on that side of the ball. ... Bears S Jaquan Brisker returns after missing the past two games with a concussion and illness. ... RB Khalil Herbert (ankle), WR Equanimeous St. Brown (hamstring) and CB Josh Blackwell (hamstring) were in 21-day windows to return from injured reserve.
SERIES NOTES: The Bears have won two straight and five of six against Carolina.
STATS AND STUFF: Chicago and Carolina meet in a matchup of teams with two of the five worst records in the NFL. The Panthers have yet to win on the road this season. ... QB Bryce Young has the 29th-ranked QB rating in the league with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. He is 1-6 as a starter. ... Panthers QBs have been sacked a combined 29 times this season. ... RB Miles Sanders played well in the second half of Sunday's loss to the Colts and could see added carries against the Bears. However, Chuba Hubbard will start again this week. Hubbard's 3.86 yards per carry ranks 30th in the league. ... WR Adam Thielen's 62 receptions are tied for sixth in the league. ... P Johnny Hekker is ranked sixth in the league in punting average at 43.8 yards per punt. ... Chicago is 1-3 at home. ... The Bears have a league-low 10 sacks and are last in the NFL in turnover differential. ... Edge rusher Montez Sweat, acquired from Washington at the trade deadline to boost the pass rush, had two tackles in his Bears debut. ... WR Darnell Mooney is coming off his best game this season with season highs of five catches and 82 yards.
FANTASY TIP: Moore going against his former team would seem to be an easy choice here, assuming the Bears give him the opportunities. He was targeted five times last week and caught three passes for 44 yards. He hasn't had more than 55 yards since the Washington game.
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