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Carolina Panthers vs. Chicago Bears Free Pick- 8/9/13

Chicago Bears (0-0) at Carolina Panthers (0-0)

NFL Football: Friday, August 9, 2013 at 8:00 pm (Bank of America Stadium)

The Line: Carolina Panthers -2.5 -- Over/Under: 35.5 See the Latest Odds

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The Carolina Panthers and the Chicago Bears face off on Friday as they open their 2013 NFL Preseason and they are both hoping to be playoff teams this season.

The Carolina Panthers went 7-9 a year ago and feel they are on the verge of making the leap to being a playoff team this season. Cam Newton is in year three at QB and he is backed up by Derek Anderson, Jimmy Clausen, and Colby Cameron but Newton is the most important part of this team. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are still the backs and Kenjon Barner and Armond Smith will look to become part of the mix. Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell are listed as the starting wide receivers but Armanti Edwards, Domenik Hixon, David Gettis, Ted Ginn and others will compete for playing time. The Panthers are set at tight end with Greg Olsen and Ben Hartsock and Richie Brockel and Brandon Williams should play a lot more here but don’t expect to see them much when the games count.

Carolina Panthers vs. Chicago Bears Free Pick- 8/9/13

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

If the Panthers are going to challenge in the NFC South the defense is going to have to come through. Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy can bring the heat from the ends and Dwan Edwards and forst round pick Star Lotulelei are in the middle of the DL while second round pick  Kwann Short, Colin Cole, Frank Alexander are among the many who will be vying for a roster spot and playing time as the Panthers are four deep across. Luke Keuchly is a tackling machine in the middle of the linebacking group and Thomas Davis and Jon Beason are the other starters and A.J. Klein, Chase Balckburn, Jordan Senn make up the second unit of a crowded depth chart. For the most part it is going to fall on the seconday where Drayton Florence, Captain Munnerlyn, Mike Mitchell and Charles Godfrey are the starters but Josh Thomas, D.J. Campbell, Haruki Nakamura and many others will be ginning for them.

It’s a new era for the Chicago bears as mark Trestman takes over as Head Coach but there are some changes on the roster as well. Jay Cuter is hoping for more time to throw the ball while Josh McCown and Matt Blanchard back Cutler up which is a role which has meant game time over the years. Matt Forte is healthy once again and Michael Bush, Armando Allen, and Michael Ford all look to get carries. Brandon Marshall is coming off of a big season but he was the only one catching passes for the bears who hope that Alshon Jeffrey, Earl Bennett, or Joe Anderson can step up as Devin Hester looks to only figure in the return game. Martellus Bennett looks to add another target for Cutler and Steve Maneri, Kyle Adams, and Brody Eldridge compete the tight ends.

Defensively the Bears have a mixture of big name and question marks. Julius Peppers is a force at one end spot while Corey Wooten is on the other side with Henry Melton and Stephen Paea at the tackles with Nate Collins and Sedrick Ellis backing them up. Lance Briggs anchors the linebackers and James Anderson is on the other side and D.J. Williams is in the middle but this group will miss Brian Urlacher and Khaseem Greene, Jon Bostic, Blake Costanzo among others will be pressing them. Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings are solid at the corners and Major Wright and Chris Conte are the safeties with Kelvin Hayden, Tom Zibikowski, Zack Bowman and others all figuring to see plenty of action in this one.

This one looks to be teams that both have some weaknesses but the Panthers may me just a bit better off. The wildcard here is Jimmy Clausen who if he sees any kind of significant time on the field the Panthers are automatically a fade and while I like the Panthers at most spots it is tough to overcome QB play as bad as Clausen who figures to play just a bit to much for the Panthers to win.

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Chicago Bears +2.5

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