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Bears, Panthers clash
The Bears and Panthers get their preseasons going in Carolina tonight as both teams eye the playoffs in 2013 after failing to get there last season. Both have some uphill battles with respect to their division rivals, but getting a good solid start starts tonight, and both would like to prove to themselves that they are ready for what this season has in store.

Chicago’s made a lot of changes all throughout their organization but the most notable one is at head coach. The Bears brought in a proven winner from the CFL – Marc Trestman – to bring his successful systems to Chicago. But things like that take time to implement and get everyone on the same page so you should expect a lot of sloppy errors out there tonight. It’s Chicago’s first taste of live action under Trestman and mistakes will be made.

Add in the fact that Jay Cutler and the starters are likely to only see a series or two and the depth of Chicago’s organization will be tested right out of the gate. Depth is something Chicago really only has at the RB position, and with backup QB’s Josh McCown and Matt Blanchard getting the majority of the snaps tonight the Bears have a lot of work ahead of them.

Conversely, Carolina has kept the bulk of their roster in check from last year’s 7-9 SU team and has experienced talent at nearly every position on offense. Once you get past Cam Newton as the starting QB, you’ve got two guys who have seen numerous starts in this league (Derek Anderson, Jimmy Clausen) and they have one of the deepest backfields in the entire league. Add in a WR fleet that were mostly all in Carolina a season ago and the Panthers will have a much easier time picking up where they left off last year.

Defense was the Panthers biggest problem a season ago and from the outset of training camp I expected that to be the focus of this year’s team. Bringing a ton of pressure and blitz packages is frowned upon this early in the preseason, but that doesn’t mean that pressure from up front can’t get there and DB’s can swat errant passes. Pass defense and giving up the big play was a huge concern for Carolina last season and the work the secondary’s put in so far this camp will get put on display against the weaker backup QB’s Chicago’s going to throw at them.

Yet, when it all comes down to it tonight, it will be Carolina’s experience at the QB position and continuity of their roster offensively that will give them the win tonight. Being at home helps that much more as they need to prove to their fans that this is a team well worth watching this season.

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