It may not be the most watched game of Week 10, but it will be the first one! This week’s edition of Thursday Night Football features the Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears in what may end up being a very important game for draft order. With last year’s trade between the Panthers and Bears, Chicago actually has both teams’ first round picks, so tonight they’ll be playing for a little more than pride. If that’s not really selling tonight’s tilt for you, I get it. Heading into the contest, the home side Bears are three-point favorites, while the over/under is set at 38.5 points.
Bryce Young’s first season in the NFL has been anything but a smooth transition, but tonight is a great opportunity for him to gain some confidence. Not only that, but it’s also an opportunity for the fans to gain some confidence in him. The Panthers sent a lot to Chicago to take Young with the first overall pick last offseason, and there’s already been concern that they picked the wrong guy with what C.J. Stroud has done in Houston. However, with the lack of weapons and a mediocre offensive line in Carolina, Young hasn’t exactly been set up to succeed yet in his career. Hopefully, tonight’s game against Chicago’s porous defence will be a step in the right direction. Look for Young to get the ball to Adam Thielen tonight. Thielen is the clear top option in Carolina and has been a very important veteran presence this season.
Defensively, the Panthers aren’t as bad as some may think. Despite sitting 31st in points allowed, the team is 8th in yards allowed. That means that they’re tough to play, but opposing teams are often working with short fields against them. Justin Fields will once again be out due to injury, so they’ll be going up against a Tyson Bagent-led offence. As Carolina must know, D.J. Moore will be the man they’ll have to look out for in Chicago’s passing attack. Moore was the only active player moved in the Bryce Young trade last year, and he’s the most talented receiver on either team in tonight’s game.
Some thought we might be getting to see Justin Fields again this week, but it looks like we’ll have to wait. In Tyson Bagent’s three starts this year, he’s thrown three touchdowns and five interceptions, leading the Bears to one win and two losses. He should be looking to get Moore as involved as possible, but with a lack of secondary options, it may be tough again to do so. In the last two games, D.J. has a combined seven grabs for 99 yards. In those games, Chicago scored just three touchdowns.
On the defensive side of things, the Bears aren’t much better. Thankfully, the Panthers haven’t exactly been world-beaters with the ball themselves. If Chicago’s defensive line can get through to Bryce Young consistently tonight, they may make the difference in the game. Young can sling the ball when he has time, but often this year, he hasn’t had that luxury. Like most young quarterbacks, it’s when he’s been under that pressure that the mistakes have come, and Chicago will know that.
Panthers and Bears: The Pick
It’s not a game that many will want to watch, but we’ve got to make a pick. The Panthers and Bears are a combined 3-14 this year, but at least one is guaranteed a win tonight. I may not take them to win outright, but I’ll take the Panthers to keep this one close and cover the 3-point spread in Chicago. Bryce Young throws multiple touchdowns for just the second time in his career as well.
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