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Choosing Sides

Choosing Sides: How many points will Bears score Sunday?

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Prior to every Bears game this season, we ask a panel of experts one question to test their clairvoyant powers. The panel consists of ChicagoBears.com writers Larry Mayer and Nathan Smith; former Bears players Alex Brown, Patrick Mannelly and Jim Miller; and one guest celebrity.

This week's question is: How many points will the Bears score in Sunday's road game against the Carolina Panthers?

Our guest celebrity this week is former Bears star running back Matt Forte, who had great success against the Panthers. In fact, the two most prolific rushing performances in Forte's eight seasons in Chicago both came against Carolina, with 205 yards in a 2011 win and 166 yards in a 2010 victory.

Larry Mayer, ChicagoBears.com
Prediction:
Bears will score 27 points against the Panthers.
Comment: After getting called out publicly for the first time by coach Matt Nagy, the Bears offense will respond with a more complete outing against the Panthers. The unit will generate 27 points, with Allen Robinson II delivering another impressive performance and David Montgomery displaying his rushing and receiving ability in a 27-23 win in Carolina—the Bears' fourth four-point victory in six games this season.

Nathan Smith, ChicagoBears.com
Prediction:
Bears will score 27 points against the Panthers.
Comment: The Panthers defense appears to be just average through five weeks. In contrast to the Colts and Buccaneers, the Panthers are pretty weak against the run. David Montgomery will have a big day and keep drives alive, and Nick Foles will have his most productive start of the season.

Alex Brown, former Bears defensive end
Prediction:
Bears will score 24 points against the Panthers.
Comment: When you take into consideration the caliber of defenses that Nick Foles has faced the past two games, I'm very excited to see him play moving forward and begin to show just how dynamic this offense can be. I have Nick going over 300 yards passing this week and Darnell Mooney stepping up to play a large role, helping Allen Robinson challenge Carolina's defense.

Patrick Mannelly, former Bears long-snapper
Prediction:
Bears will score 23 points against the Panthers.
Comment: The Bears have faced two really good run defenses the past two weeks in the Colts, and Buccaneers and I expect the run game to get back on track.

Jim Miller, former Bears quarterback
Prediction:
Bears will score 30 points against the Panthers.
Comment: Going into last week's game against the Falcons, the Panthers defense ranked last in the NFL in sacks, 31st on third down and 27th in the red zone. Carolina struggles to pressure the quarterback, get off the field on third down and turn away opponents in the red zone. If the Bears execute properly on the "money" down and in the red zone, they should put up no less than 30 points.

Guest celebrity: Matt Forte
Prediction:
Bears will score 22 points against the Panthers.
Comment: The Bears will score 22 points: 20 by the offense and two by the defense on a safety in a close game that the Bears pull out in the end. Although there won't be a 100-yard rusher, the run game will be prosperous, with David Montgomery and Cordarrelle Patterson sprinkled in, setting up some downfield chunk plays to Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney. Mooney will be money on third downs for Nick Foles.

Recap of last week: Former Bears quarterback Jim Miller and ChicagoBears.com writer Nathan Smith both correctly predicted that seven different Bears players would catch passes last Thursday night against the Buccaneers. Miller was also nearly perfect with his projection that Allen Robinson II would catch eight passes for 92 yards; Robinson had 10 receptions for 90 yards.

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