The Falcons seem to have a lot in common with the Bears. Their a frisky team with a rebuilding roster, and they’re getting a lot accomplished with the ground game. The main difference seems to be that one team has a better record with a has been at quarterback, while the other has lost close games with an ascending future hall of famer at quarterback. I’ll let you decide which team you’d rather be. That’s not the point of this article, a friendly discourse between colleagues.
1. Bears fans have had a running joke about all of the former Bears the Falcons have scooped up since Ryan Pace joined your front office. Is this something on Falcons fans radar? Besides Cordarrelle Patterson, have any former Bears proved to be important to the Falcons team?
Oh it’s definitely been a frequent topic of conversation. For the most part, Cordarrelle Patterson is the clear headliner. We were pretty excited about Eddie Goldman before he announced his retirement before training camp. Damiere Byrd has also made some nice plays, but has only recently become a part of the offense. Otherwise, they’ve been mostly role players and depth pieces.
2. The Falcons offense has been frequently effective despite fantasy managers bemoaning the intermittent use of Kyle Pitts and Drake London. Do you think the run-first, then-keep-running approach is right for the Falcons current roster? Are fans supportive of Arthur Smith as a playcaller? Does anyone want former Bears coach Dave Ragone to take over playcalling?
With Marcus Mariota at the helm, running the ball as much as possible is probably the best way to win games. They’ve had some success doing it, but defenses have adjusted in recent weeks—Atlanta is facing stacked boxes on almost every early down at this point. Part of the problem is Mariota, the other is the offensive line’s inability to pass protect. For the most part, fans are happy with Arthur Smith’s playcalling. He has Atlanta 12th in scoring offense right now, despite...well, Mariota and the offensive line.
3. Speaking of what’s best for the Falcons offense, are we going to see Desmond Ridder this season?
I believe we will, and if the Falcons lose on Sunday, I think we could see him as early as Week 12 or Week 13. Unless Atlanta wins the next three games, I think the latest we’d see Ridder would be after the bye week, and that’s Week 15 at New Orleans. I’d prefer to have Ridder as the starter going into the bye week and to let him get his first start at home, but this coaching staff is still convinced that Atlanta can make the playoffs.
4. The Bears set an NFL record last week running for 225+ yards 5 weeks in a row. What are their chances of breaking their own record for a 6th against this Atlanta defense?
Atlanta just gave up 232 rushing yards to the Panthers, so I’d say the odds are pretty good. It does seem like teams have been able to bottle up David Montgomery pretty well this season, so the loss of Khalil Herbert could hurt Chicago’s chances. But then again, it’s entirely possible Justin Fields gets 200+ by himself. The Falcons have a solid run defense, statistically speaking.
5. Draftkings has the Falcons favored by 3 in a home game, meaning betters feel this is a pretty much even matchup. Do you think that’s a fair assessment? Who do you think pulls out the win?
Early in the season, I think Falcons fans would have all circled this game as one of the most likely wins on the schedule. Things have changed for Chicago over the past three weeks, both offensively and defensively. I definitely think the Bears have a good chance in this one, but I’ll stick with the Falcons at home, 27-24.
So if you believe Kevin’s prediction, the Bears will have their worst offensive output in a 5 week stretch. From one perspective, the Bears could be due for some “regression.” If that’s not your perspective, and you want to “smash the over” or just bet the Bears to cover against some low-flying poorly-groomed birds, our friends over at DraftKings Sportsbook have you covered for this game and all the week’s NFL action