Chicago Bears: 3 dangerous matchups Carolina Panthers present

Chicago Bears (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears, Teddy Bridgewater
Chicago Bears (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

3. Panthers OL vs. Bears pass rush

This season, the Panthers have been impressive up front in terms of protecting Teddy Bridgewater. Other than one outlier against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bridgewater has been kept relatively clean.

In fact, the past two games, Bridgewater hasn’t been sacked once. On average, teams are sacking Bridgewater just 1.6 times per game. But, the last two games have been impressive efforts by their offensive line. It is no coincidence that Carolina has won both games, too.

By contrast, the Bears have been heating up in terms of pressure defensively. Last Thursday night, the Bears pressured Tom Brady on 43.2 percent of his drop backs — the most pressure Brady has seen in a game in three years (per Zebra Technology Next Gen Stats).

That game against the Bucs appeared to be the stage Khalil Mack used to ensure the world knew he was still one of the most lethal defensive players in all of football. He had been no. 2 in the league in pressures up to that point, but some still questioned if he was going to provide the Bears with those all-important sacks we’re accustomed to seeing from him.

Bridgewater is similar to Brady in that he will become a different quarterback when hit. If the Bears can get to Bridgewater regularly, it’s going to be a long game. But, this offensive line has been so much better than most thought they would the last two weeks. Going into this season, the Panthers’ offensive line was looked at as one of their weaker points.

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If Chicago can pressure Bridgewater, and take him down a few times, the face of this game changes dramatically and the Bears can come out with a victory.