You can bet that after squandering away a 28-3 lead in last February’s Super Bowl, the Falcons have been waiting for day one of that redemption quest. Well, the wait is over and it resumes on Sunday in Chicago, as Matt Ryan and his Falcons look to finish what they started last year.
Atlanta had a sluggish pre-season by most accounts, with many crediting it to the shellshock endured in last year’s title game. That said, now that the games count again and are ‘for real’ look for the prolific Atlanta attack to return to form. Starting on the road in a hostile environment is never easy, but expect a Falcons team on a mission this year.
For the Bears, there have been a lot of changes in the off-season. And though none of them are big enough to warrant a significant shift in how their season will likely finish (last in the NFC North), I’d expect a competitive start on Sunday from John Fox’s group. Mike Glennon looked great this pre-season, and even though they’ve since lost Cameron Meredith to injury – the Bears do certain things well that could give Atlanta fits.
This should be an intriguing game to open the 1:00 slate, solely just to see how the Falcons can possibly rebound from last season’s disaster finish. Sunday football is a glorious thing, and we’ve got you covered at The Sports Geek. Read on below for a full game breakdown and analysis, as well as betting pick.
Falcons vs. Bears Betting Odds:
Atlanta Falcons -7 (-105)
@ Chicago Bears +7 (-115)
Over 48.5 (-110)
Under 48.5 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Falcons vs. Bears Pick:
While it’d be great for the Falcons to win in a rout on Sunday – I don’t expect that to happen. When you line up the strengths/weaknesses of each of these teams, look for Chicago to be able to do lots of things that may give Atlanta some difficulty.
For starters, the Falcons’ blocking unit remains suspect. Chicago has the talented Akiem Hicks currently slated to be going up against a rookie guard in Wes Schweitzer. If Hicks can get to Matt Ryan at will, it could be a tough start for an Atlanta offense that struggled in the pre-season.
Of course, Julio Jones will get his. He’s as talented as they come and there aren’t many who can deal with the lengthy and speedy receiver. Prince Amukamara is slated to be out at cornerback for Chicago, and this should complicate matters for the Bears’ secondary.
If Chicago can limit what Atlanta can do on offense, I think the Bears might be able to move the chains with some consistency on Sunday to hang around. Chicago does have the ability to stifle the Falcons’ defense with the interior of their offensive line. If they can push back the Falcons’ D-line, big holes can be open for Jordan Howard right up the gut. Howard is a solid runner, and running behind big and talented O-Linemen such as Cody Whitehair and Josh Sitton should definitely help his cause.
It’s too bad the Bears did lose Cameron Meredith as he was likely in for a big year. The depth behind him is solid but not spectacular. Going through the air for Chicago likely will be futile against Atlanta’s stingy secondary, but as mentioned above – the ground game is key on Sunday. Kyle Long may play, which would really hope as he’d work well with Whitehair and Sitton to open up running lanes.
The last two Super Bowl losers have actually lost outright in their opener the next season. While I don’t quite foresee that happening on Sunday, Chicago has enough pride and talent to give the Falcons fits. They are tough on the lines of scrimmage, and will run the ball especially well on Sunday. If they can find a solution to limit the Atlanta attack, this game should be close throughout. Getting a full touchdown right now at certain shops, give me the Bears +7.
PICK = Bears +7 (-115)