The Atlanta Falcons (4-6) will be back home today to take on the Chicago Bears (3-7) in Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 1 p.m. EST. Both teams have been on losing streaks and will look to get back in the win column this week.
Quarterback Justin Fields leads the Bears offense. They average 329.8 yards of total offense a game; 128.1 passing yards per game and 201.7 rushing yards per game. Their total yards is only 21st in the NFL, but their rushing total leads the league.
It top target Darnell Mooney hasn’t been anything special this season, hauling in 36 passes for 464 yards and a touchdown.
David Montgomery has been a serviceable running back for the Bears so far, rushing for 434 yards and two touchdowns.
The offensive line has not been good, according to Pro Football Network they are a tier 4 offensive line.
Defensively the Bears have been solid. As a unit theey give up 345.4 yards of total offense a game; 203.4 passing yards per game and 142 rushing yards per game, good for 15th in the NFL.
Offensively the Falcons average 317.2 yards of total offense a game; 156.8 passing yards per game and 160.4 rushing yards per game.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota has been very frustrating these past few weeks, so far this season he’s completed 61.9% of his passes for 1,747 yards and 12 touchdowns for a total QBR of 59.3. He has thrown just two touchdown passes against an interception in the last two Falcons games… both losses.
Wide receiver Drake London has his first touchdown reception last week since Week 3. He has caught 38 passes for 407 yards and three touchdowns. Tight end Kyle Pitts has caught 25 passes for 313 yards and two touchdowns.
The trio of Cordarrelle Patterson, Tyler Allgeier, and Caleb Huntley at running back continues to play well.Last week they rushed for 138 yards against a good Carolina Panthers defense.
The offensive line struggled last week against the Panthers, allowing five sacks, but according to Pro Football Network they are still a tier 2 offensive line.
Defensively the Falcons have been one of the worst groups in the NFL. They give up 399.5 yards of total offense a game; 280.1 passing yards per game and 119.4 rushing yards per game. They have the worst passing defense in the NFL and second worst total defense.
The Falcons come into this game as 3.5-point favorites. This is now back to back weeks that the Falcons come into the game favored.
Offensively the Falcons are going to continue to run the ball. After last week’s performance, it’ll be very surprising to see Mariota throw the ball 30 times this game like he did last week against the Panthers.
Now that Patterson has been able to get back in game shape, the backfield should be able to dominate once again as the Bears aren’t a very good run defense, ranking last in the NFL.
Mariota needs a bounce-back game after a dreadful performance in the rain against the Panthers on Thursday night.
London and Pitts will have to continue to show that they can be threats in order to help open up the running game. London will mainly see the matchup of cornerbacks Jaylon Johnson or Kindle Vildor depending on coverage schemes. Johnson and Vildor have grades of 58.6 and 67.6 respectively from Pro Football Focus.
Pitts will likely see a lot of Bears safety Eddie Jackson. Jackson has been the Bears’ best defender this season according to PFF, grading 71.9, good for 22nd among NFL safeties.
The offensive line faces a favorable matchup this week, and they should be able to protect Mariota and open up holes for the backs. The Falcons’ fourth-ranked rushing attack faces off against the Bears’ 32nd-ranked run defense.
The plan off attack for the Falcons should be relatively simple. Run. The. Ball.
Defensively the Falcons have to focus on containing Fields. Fields has been on a historical run with the Bears rushing for over 300 yards the last two games.
Cornerback A.J. Terrell has been trending towards returning against the Bears all week, and he will help let Atlanta commit more bodies to stopping the rushing attack of Fields.
Grady Jarrett and company have a relatively favorable matchup this week and should be able to generate pressure. The pass rush has been better this year, but still ranks 31st in the NFL with just 13 sacks.
If the Falcons can get to Fields and make him uncomfortable, the Falcons will win this game.
Rookie linebacker Troy Andersen could play a big role containing Fields. He has the speed, 4.42-forty at the NFL Combine, to limit the big-play ability of Fields running the ball.
Offensively the Bears are going to continue to play through Fields. When he’s not running the ball, he has found a reliable target in tight end Cole Kmet. Kmet has nine catches over the last two weeks after just 14 in the previous eight games.
Despite the good rushing numbers the offensive line has struggled. The Bears front has given up 36 sacks. This could be the week that rookie edge rusher Arnold Ebiketie breaks out in a favorable matchup.
A battle of two below .500 teams with strong rushing attacks this season. The Falcons should be able to take advantage of this weak Bears defense with the rushing ability of Patterson and company and the pass catching of Pitts and London.
Fields will look to have another strong performance and could be in for a big time game against this weak Falcons defense.
This game will come down to who is able to run the ball more effectively and who makes the least amount of mistakes.
Score Prediction: Bears 20 Falcons 28