By Dan Durkin-

(CBS) Twos are wild, as the 2-2 Bears take on the 2-2 Panthers this Sunday in Charlotte (Fox, noon CT). Looking at Carolina’s upcoming schedule, this is a pivotal game if it wants to repeat as an NFC playoff team. Chicago needs it to keep pace in the NFC North as well.

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Here are five matchups to focus on during the game.

Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller vs. Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin — Early on, these two have been the impressive newcomers on their respective sides of the ball to start the season and have earned Rookie of the Month honors. At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Benjamin is a physical mismatch for nearly every cornerback in the league. While he’s still sharpening his route running and focus (he’s had some critical drops), Benjamin is the Panthers’ best weapon. Fuller is physical in his own right and has won with length and instinct. This matchup will go back and forth but will be won by the player who uses proper technique and leverage to gain body position.

Bears left defensive end Lamarr Houston vs. Panthers right tackle Nate Chandler — Houston was the Bears’ free agent prize but has yet to have a major impact on a game. Against Chandler — a converted defensive tackle — Houston has a distinct athletic advantage and should be able to set up rushes with his first-step quickness. Chandler has the feet to play the position, but he’s still refining his technique and struggles to maintain and finish blocks.

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Bears right guard Kyle Long vs. Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short — Two promising, powerful second-year players square off in the trenches. As the Panthers have struggled to create pressure off the edge, Short has been a disruptive pass rush force on the interior. Reports out of Charlotte indicate that Short has been getting some snaps at defensive end this week, but he’s primarily been a three-technique. Long has been one of the Bears’ best pass protectors, showing nimble feet to mirror and redirect, so this projects to be one of the best trench battles.

Bears wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery vs. Panthers cornerback Josh Norman — Norman started as a rookie in 2012, but lapses in coverage sent him to the bench. The Panthers’ secondary — in particular Melvin White, whom Norman is replacing – was run ragged last week by former teammate Steve Smith. Against Marshall and Jeffery, Norman will have to be focused on his assignment. In the past, Norman has been caught peeking in the backfield when manned up, and against the Bears’ arsenal, that’s a big play waiting to happen.

Bears running back Matt Forte vs. Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly — In his career, Forte has averaged 133 rushing yards per game against the Panthers at a gaudy 6.3 yards-per-carry average. Last week against the Packers, Forte got on track and was effective both up the middle and to the perimeter. Kuechly is the league’s best sideline-to-sideline defender, and he’ll be spying on Forte throughout the game. Kuechly’s ability to quickly read and react to plays will be a challenge for the Bears, who will try to replicate the success the Ravens had on inside zone runs.

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Dan Durkin covers the Bears for and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.