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Early Surprise Teams set to do Battle in Week 2 – Chicago Bears at Carolina Panthers

September 12, 2008 by sportsroids 

Early Surprise Teams set to do Battle in Week 2 – Chicago Bears at Carolina Panthers

By Alex V

This is a matchup that intrigues me deeply. Both the Bears and the Panthers pulled of rather huge week one upsets against Super Bowl contenders while playing on the road. The Bears did it with their usual run-oriented, turnover free passing offense, and ball-hawking defense that brought them success back when they reached the Super Bowl. The Panthers on the other hand blew a nine point lead in the fourth quarter, and still managed to come back and win in the last second of the game.

Dante Rosario Panthers TE

Dante Rosario Panthers TE

I really like this matchup, because there are two possible after-thoughts once the game is over. One of these squads should inevitably win, barring a rare tie. But the game could end up being sloppy where despite bad play, one of the teams had to end the week 2-0. On the other hand, if the winner of the game can play well, or even great, then the January chatter begins to amount. Let’s look at how each team succeeded this weekend.

Rookie Matt Forte, seems to have all the tools to be a great NFL RB

Rookie Matt Forte, seems to have all the tools to be a great NFL RB

The Bears have Kyle Orton who didn’t do great, but didn’t do bad either. He finished his game with an 83.4 quarterback rating, completed 13 of 21 passes for a 61.9% completion rate with a more-than commendable 7.1 yards per pass average and 150 total yards. The main facet that got the bears their win on offense was the veteran type performance of Matt Forte. He finished the game with a workhorse load of 23 carries, 123 yards, and a rather gaudy 5.3 yards per carry and one touchdown. Forte managed these stats against a defense that got back Bob Sanders and usually tends to stack the line against teams who do not present a formidable passing threat with him in the line-up (I hesitate to mention the return of Dwight Freeney as he operates mainly as a pass rusher).

As for Jake Delhomme, he finished the night with 247 yards, one touchdown, went 23 of 41 (which culminated in a not so substantial 6 yard per pass average) with a QB rating of 82.1. His running game came in the form of Deangelo Hall (18 carries, 86 yards, and 4.8 per carry) and Jonathan Stewart (10 carries, 53 yards, and 5.3 per carry).

The most notable factor in the Bears’ victory was how they were able to hold Indianapolis to 13 points. On the other hand, the Panthers who faced an opponent with just as much offensive potency in the Chargers, still gave up 24 points, which is just around the average a team like San Diego should get. In hindsight though, the Panthers have comeback ability, which they showed versus the Chargers, whereas the Bears usual strategy is to have the victory in hand by the start of the 4th quarter if possible.

So, in conclusion, the Bears should be the favorite to win, as they played well throughout their entire game, and the Panthers blundered, but managed to eke out a win in literally the waning seconds of their game. As long as the Bears can prevent the big play as they did against the Colts, and not falter anywhere down the stretch, they should come out on top. However, regardless of coming out the victor in this week’s matchup, the winner must display a continued consistency in what they do to earn the respect of NFL fans, columnists, and analysts alike, even if one should remain undefeated.

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