The undefeated Chicago Bears — I know it won’t last, but I do like typing that — travel to face the winless Atlanta Falcons in a game that should be quite exciting. Even if the Falcons’ injuries stop mounting up, this is still an offense led by former league MVP Matt Ryan that can move the ball.
The strength of the Bears is in their talented defense, so that O vs D battle could negate each other giving Mitchell Trubisky and Chicago’s offense a time to shine against a so-so Atlanta defense.
Let’s check in on some of the keys for a Chicago win from the staffers at WCG.
Here’s some short and sweet keys...
“Through two games, the Bears have looked to establish the run, so this week it’s time to unleash Trubisky and the passing game with some well timed play action passes to the tight ends. The Falcons have allowed opposing tight ends to catch 18 balls for 163 yards and 2 TDs, so let’s see them feed Jimmy Graham, Cole Kmet, and Demetrius Harris.” ~ Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.
“Either Mitchell Trubisky and Matt Nagy have dynamite, all-around perfect games as quarterback and play-caller, respectively, or the Bears lose in a shootout. The Falcons are going to put points on the board, regardless of the Bears’ defensive prowess. Keep up, stay up, or be lapped up.” ~ Robert Zeglinski
“The blueprint for beating the Falcons has been out for a while. Let them get up by 20+ points, then pounce. If the Bears follow that script, I give them a black bear’s chance in crowded campground of finding S’more wins.” ~ Patti Curl
And with a WCG appearance nearly as rare as a Detroit Lions’ divisional crown, check out who chimed in next!
“Score more points gang, it is literally the same answer every week.” ~ Kev H
And a few of our staff gave some more detail with their keys for a Bears’ win...
Erik Christopher Duerrwaechter:
Offense: do as Kev says. It’s time for Matt Nagy to unleash his full playbook and push for the endzone on every drive. Trubisky should have a big day along with newfound target Darnell Mooney. Again, should.
Defense: beat up the Falcons’ O-Line. So far, they’re one of the better graded units in pass protection. I’m not buying it; bring down the house and work all five of their linemen through four quarters. Plus, Matt Ryan can’t complete passes to Julio Jones or Calvin Ridley if he’s on his backside all day.
Special teams: be extra cautious in defending against the kick return unit. That’s not a unit to take lightly, and they will light you up if players start abandoning their lanes.
On offense: It’s all about the turnovers. The Falcons defense has been horrific in the first two weeks, and the Bears have an opportunity to have a big offensive week both on the ground and through the air... as long as they don’t turn the ball over.
On defense: The Falcons support one of the highest octane offenses in the league, and Matt Ryan is as good as anybody in the game not named Mahomes or Wilson... but he does tend to turn the ball over, so this will be an interesting matchup. As always, pressure is the key, the Bears must be able to generate pressure. Expect to see a LOT of dime with Bush in instead of Trevathan to deal with the speed of the Atlanta attack.
Jack R Salo:
Offense: The Falcons are averaging an impressive 32 points per game, good for 5th in the league. We’re only two games in, but that still speaks to their penchant for shootouts. It’s pretty clear that the Bears will need to score early and often to keep up. The inconsistencies thus far haven’t just been on Trubisky; the entire offense has had one bad half, then one good half, then one great half, then one awful half. Spread the love around all 4 quarters for once.
Defense: Do not, under any circumstances, let your foot off the gas. Fix the defensive two-minute drill. Both of the Bears victories have come with a sigh of relief, as the opposing offense has driven down the field and simply ran out of time. The Falcons start a shell of Todd Gurley II at running back, and you’ll have to be really bored to have done any homework on the rotation behind him. They averaged 45 passes through two games. Simply put, they’re going to chuck that thing, so put Matt Ryan on his ass.
On offense: The Seahawks and the Cowboys put up points in a hurry against this Falcons’ defense, but unfortunately the Bears aren’t the Seahawks or the Cowboys — those teams pass the ball heavily (where ATL struggles most) while we run the ball more than anyone else in neutral situations. The Bears need to go against their own grain and air the ball out early and often, the pass will open up the run on Sunday.
On defense: Support your corners. Julio Jones (if he plays) and Calvin Ridley are as tough a matchup for Jaylon Johnson (who needs to draw Jones, Fuller struggles against big-n-physical WRs) and Kyle Fuller as the Bears could ask for in 2020, so the Bears’ pass rush needs to get home and the deep safeties need to be ready to make plays in support of their CBs. Remove Jones and Ridley from the game plan and take your chances with Hayden Hurst.
Offense: This Falcons D may be the worst in the league. If not, it’s close. Take advantage. Continue to run the ball, dial up plenty of play action, give Trubisky easy looks against a (admittedly soft) zone heavy scheme that he has traditionally struggled against, for the love of god CATCH the ball, and do it for a complete game not just a quarter or a half. Basically, put some dang points on the board... cause you’re probably going to need them.
Defense: While the Falcons D is atrocious, their offense is POTENT, especially through the air. The pressure numbers for the Bears have been decent through the first two weeks, but sacks have been just ok given the talent (averaging 2.5 a game, which is 13th in the league). Get in Matt Ryan’s face (and don’t stop), force him to throw before he’s ready, and let your stingy secondary pin their ears back and go after the ball. If you don’t, this Falcons Offense can and will move up and down the field, and put points on the board.
Special Teams: Don’t bother with 50+ yard field goals. Seriously, it’s just not worth it, and Cairo Santos is NOT a good bet to make one. Outside of that, just keep on keeping on, because special teams has been pretty solid on the whole thus far.
What are your keys to the game this week?