The Carolina Panthers are heading up to meet the Chicago Bears for a Thursday night (11/9/23) matchup between two of the NFC’s bottom teams looking for a rare win. Get Panthers vs. Bears predictions below as our best bet is Bears Moneyline at -175.
Panthers vs. Bears Prediction
We’ve seen two of the league’s worst teams square off with draft positioning on the line before. But this matchup has a pretty unique dynamic due to a very important twist – the Bears own the Panthers’ pick for the upcoming 2024 draft. As of now, Chicago’s own pick would be third overall, while Carolina’s would be second. Chicago has control of both thanks to the DJ Moore trade.
While both of these teams could be described as “tanking” in many ways, there’s nothing but motivation to win from both sides. Any result can potentially bolster Chicago’s draft position in some way or another, while Carolina has nothing to gain or lose. That very same tank-related apathy makes it all the more startling that the Panthers are tied for the fewest wins in the league with just one.
Moore, has been Chicago’s best offensive weapon, and could be in for a big game against the team that drafted him. He’s currently working on a career high with 81.7 yards per game, and his 735 receiving yards are the sixth-most in the league. He’s provided a much-needed top target to Justin Fields and now rookie Tyson Bagent, whose transition into the starting role has been less than smooth.
The Panthers are starting a rookie of their own at quarterback, first overall pick Bryce Young. The former Heisman winner from Alabama finally has a highlight to his rookie season. He picked up his first career win in a head-to-head contest with No. 2 pick CJ Stroud. But it’s been a rough season overall. Young has had a tough time adjusting to the size and speed of the NFL, as he’s averaging just 5.5 yards per pass attempt. He has thrown eight touchdowns compared to seven interceptions.
Carolina’s supporting cast hasn’t made it easy on him, but his first half-season as a pro has gone far from according to schedule. A win over the team who traded Carolina the pick they used to select him would be a nice feather in his cap. Unfortunately, it’s hard to envision.
The Bears have shown some positive strides in recent weeks. While Bagent could definitely struggle against Carolina’s quietly solid pass defense, the ground attack should gash the Panthers front seven. We can’t play the total due to volatility of the Bears offense under Bagent, and the half-point hook makes the spread a tough look, so let’s stay relatively safe and simply grab them on the moneyline to defend their home field.
Panthers vs. Bears Prediction: Bears ML (-175)
Panthers vs. Bears Best Odds
CAR @ CHI
Nov. 10, 1:15 AM
Odds updated November 10th, 2023, at 4:03 am
The Bears are -3.5 favorites at home, with that half-point hook providing significant value for Panthers bettors. Chicago is -175 on the moneyline, compared to +145 for Carolina, while both sides of the total of 40 are set at -110.
Panthers vs. Bears Key Injuries
The Bears are still without quarterback Justin Fields, while linebacker Tremaine Edmunds might also miss Thursday’s contest. For the Panthers, a possible concussion for edge rusher Brian Burns is the biggest concern.
Panthers vs. Bears Key Matchups
The efficient Bears run game has a great matchup in a shambolic Carolina ground defense, while Young could have a nice day against Chicago’s similarly problematic pass defense. Let’s see who might come out on top.
Bears Rushing Offense vs. Panthers Ground Defense
Even in a tough loss to the Saints, and without top back Khalil Herbert ,the Bears were able to run the ball effectively. They carried 32 times for 156 yards, a very solid output against a New Orleans defense that ranks top 10 against the run by most metrics. Chicago is a top-five rushing unit by both EPA and success, and their average of 4.6 yards per carry is the league’s sixth-best. Of course, Fields is a major ground threat, but even when healthy, he hasn’t run as much this year. It’s been a group effort, as D’Onta Foreman leads the team with just 287 yards so far. The offensive line has improved tremendously in recent weeks with more healthy contributors, headlined by standout interior lineman Teven Jenkins.
Conversely, the Panthers rank near or at the bottom of the league when it comes to just about every single run defense metric. Linebacker Frankie Luvu has had a nice year, but everyone else has fallen flat. New defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero has continued to show the brilliance he displayed in Denver, but it’s mostly manifested itself in the pass game. The Panthers still get some pretty rough results defending the run.
Panthers Air Attack vs. Bears Pass Defense
Normally with young quarterbacks, the key is to keep the pocket clean. But Young has been nearly as bad in clean pockets as he’s been under pressure. He’s accrued three big-time throws to five turnover-worthy plays when both pressured and clean. And while he’s shown much more of an issue with picking up the blitz, the Bears aren’t really a blitz-heavy team.
Carolina’s offensive line and Chicago’s pass rush grade similarly – close to the bottom – in passing scenarios. So it’ll be interesting to see how that specific matchup pans out. We’ll see how new acquisition Montez Sweat does after he’s had a bit more time to settle into Chicago, but the Bears don’t really have a star in that area. Similarly, tackle Taylor Moton has been serviceable for Carolina in the pass game, but nobody else has been satisfactory.