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Bears vs Falcons: Six-Pack Keys to Victory

How can the Bears beat the Falcons this week in the Georgia Dome? We have our weekly six keys to victory.

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Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

1) Pat O'Donnell and Punt Coverage vs Devin Hester

Extend this to kickoff returns too, and this isn't to say this is the top, number one overall key to the game, but this is an area that can do some damage to the Bears, especially given whatever that punt return was that went for a touchdown for the Panthers last week.

Basically, Hester still has some speed, and still has the same decision-making issues (odd fair catches, odd decisions to take it and run). So a good, strong, high, long kick with a lot of hangtime forcing him to decide within the 15 yard line sounds like a good idea - or punting out of bounds deep could work too. Basically, Pat O'Donnell needs to be a punter. (Funny, I think that's his job title.)

2) Kyle Fuller vs Julio Jones

Welcome to the NFL, Kyle Fuller - this week, your assignment is covering the most productive receiver in the league to this point. Fuller didn't do badly against Kelvin Benjamin last week, but stepping up to Jones is a bit of a different thing. Wish I had something more to say besides "Good luck, we're all counting on you."

3) Pressure the right side of the line (and Jake Matthews)

The only thing holding the Falcons' offensive line's right side together right now is duct tape and Gabe Carimi (and with Mike Tice on the other sideline too, it really feels like a reunion of 2011 ex-Bears). But if there's a week to start getting consistent pressure, maybe this is it. Is this the week Jared Allen feels at home on carpet? Does Willie Young expound on his already-career-best season?

4) Turnovers - especially second-half, pressing turnovers

We've been over the turnover thing before. The last two weeks, the second half has fallen apart largely because of turnovers, most on a pressing play, perhaps trying to do a little too much. The Atlanta defense is not a strong one; maybe with an extra half-second of time in the pocket, Jay Cutler can make a slightly better decision or more accurate throw (or Matt Forte won't get stripped, or Brandon Marshall doesn't fumble, or some other turnover thing that doesn't happen all that frequently).

The point is, turnovers suck. The Bears have done a decent job forcing them this season, but they've given away far too many in return. Ball security is key to executing a sustained drive; nothing kills a drive more suddenly than simply not having the ball anymore.

5) Matt Forte

Every week, there seems to be some way Matt Forte can help this offense, whether it be through direct running the ball or his skills in receiving out of the backfield or split into the slot. Fortunately for the Bears, the Falcons defense has not done an effective job of stopping either. My problems will start once the ball goes into Forte's hands with a linebacker already on him at the line of scrimmage.

6) Injuries and The Back 7

The Bears' secondary is beat-up, depleted, and with no Isaiah Frey anymore and the return of Sherrick McManis still somewhat in question, Lance Briggs out, Shea McClellin out, Jon Bostic questionable... you get the point. Realistically there could be a linebacking corps of Daryl Sharpton, Khaseem Greene, and Christian Jones. Safety's a mess still, with Chris Conte probable, and Brock Vereen could see additional time.

Jeremiah Ratliff could return up front, which is nice, but the back 7, especially the linebackers, could be extremely vulnerable on Sunday. They'll need to stand up against Steven Jackson on Sunday.

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