Bears-Panthers: Three Keys to a Chicago Victory | NBC Chicago
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Bears-Panthers: Three Keys to a Chicago Victory

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    SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 14: Running back Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears looks on against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on September 14, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

    The Chicago Bears have had an up and down season thus far this year, to say the least, and they are looking to get back on the upswing this week as they take on the Carolina Panthers.

    In order to get fans ready for the game, we have the Three Keys to Victory for the Bears as they go for their third straight road victory.

    Running Game Must Continue to be Successful

    Over the first three weeks of the season, the Bears had one of the most lackluster rushing attacks in the league. They struggled against some of the best run defenses the league had to offer, and Matt Forte and Ka’Deem Carey simply weren’t up to snuff as the team became even more one-dimensional than usual under the guidance of Marc Trestman.

    Against the Packers in Week 4 however, things changed in a big way. The Bears rushed for 235 yards in the game, with Forte eclipsing the 100-yard plateau for the first time and Carey checking in with a respectable 74 yards rushing. Going up against another bottom-ten rushing defense this week, the Bears will have to once again find success in order to keep the Panthers on their toes, and doing so will open up the passing game for a healthy Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.  

    Don’t Forget the Lessons Learned in Week 1

    The first time the Bears went up against a mobile quarterback this season, they were savaged on the ground as they missed gaps, tackles, and failed in every conceivable way against the Buffalo Bills.

    Going up against Cam Newton and the Panthers, the Bears have got to do what they did so successfully against Colin Kaepernick and Geno Smith. In those games, both wins, the Bears forced the quarterbacks to become one-dimensional, and the results speak for themselves as the Bears forced turnovers and made big statements in those triumphs.

    Secondary Must Take on a Primary Role for Bears to Win

    If the Bears are able to keep Newton contained in the pocket, then the secondary is going to have to do a much better job of stopping the passing game than they did last week against the Packers. Aaron Rodgers was firing on all cylinders in that game, but the Bears didn’t exactly make it difficult for him as they lacked a pass rush and couldn’t hold their one-on-one coverages.

    With Kyle Fuller and Tim Jennings looking to bounce back from a rough Week 4, the Bears have got to make sure that they aren’t giving Newton his pick of targets to throw to. Kelvin Benjamin won’t be an easy assignment for either cornerback, and Isaiah Frey and Ryan Mundy are also going to have their hands full with tight end Greg Olsen. He can line up in a down position or in the slot, and his penchant for catching throws in the middle of the field is something that the Bears cannot discount.