Panthers-Bears matchup of the day: Wednesday

Posted Sept. 28, 2011 @ 4:41 p.m.
Posted By Dan Parr

Here's a look at a key matchup heading into Sunday's Week Four battle between the Panthers and Bears.

Bears' running game vs. Panthers' run defense

Sightings of the Bears' running game over the past two weeks have not been abundant, and the little we have seen of it was pretty hideous.

Chicago, which ranks second-to-last in the league in rushing, has had only 20 running plays, compared to 95 passing plays, over the past two weeks in losses to the Saints and Packers, but the rushing attack has a good chance of reappearing in a big way against the Panthers. Carolina is ranked 25th vs. the run and allows 4.4 yards per carry.

Carolina's linebacker corps has been damaged by injuries. LBs Jon Beason and Thomas Davis — starters and two of the team's top defenders — are out for the season. Dan Connor is a serviceable replacement for Beason in the middle. Jason Williams, who stepped in for Davis in the base defense, showed he can flow to the ball quickly and make a stop in Week Three. The Panthers' front seven is not imposing, though.

RB Matt Forté has gained about 71 percent of his yardage this season as a receiver, but he has the quickness, burst and power to run inside and outside. Chicago's offensive line, which could get ORG Lance Louis back from an ankle injury, should be able to get more of a push against a Carolina defensive line that is very young on the interior — rookies Sione Fua and Terrell McClain start at defensive tackle.

Forté will help the Bears regain their balance in Week Four.

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