Chicago Bears (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS) vs. Atlanta Falcons (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS)
NFL Week 6
Date and Time: Sunday, October 12, 4:25pm EST
Where: GEORGIA DOME – Atlanta, GA
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: CHI +3/ATL -3
Over/Under Total: 53.5
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This Sunday in the Georgia Dome, the Chicago Bears will attempt to be the first team to beat Atlanta at home. The Falcons come in at 2-3 and 2nd place in the NFC South, while Chicago sits with the same record and same spot in the NFC North division. This is not really a “must win” for either team, but a 2-4 start for any team puts a lot of pressure on them for the remainder of the season. The Falcons come into this game as a three point home favorite, and the over/under is set at 53.5 points.
The big story line for this game has nothing to do with records or division standings however. It is the first time that Devin Hester will face off against his old team. While Hester had 99% of his success while playing for the Bears, it has already appeared they were not using him correctly. Hester has not only been the same great return man in Atlanta, but he has become a big part of the Falcons offense as well. Hester himself admits that he always wanted to be more of an impact in Chicago at the wide receiver position but was just never used that way. Hester stated in an interview recently, “I wasn’t happy the last three, four years in Chicago, because things (weren’t) going the way I expect,” he said following that victory. “I would always have a great camp, have all the receivers saying and coaches saying I had the best camp out of all the receivers. And once the season start off, I’m not there.” I for one expect a big game out of Devin this week.
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Now putting all that aside, lets discuss this match-up from a statistical standpoint. Atlanta is a Jeckyl and Hyde this season. At home in the Georgia Dome, the Falcons look unbeatable. They beat the New Orleans in overtime in week one, then absolutely dismantled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night football by a 56-14 score. On the road, Atlanta has been the complete opposite. They went into Cincinnati, Minnesota, and New York and in all three games came away with the loss. This has been an issue in the Mike Smith Era for the last few seasons, and it is making the Atlanta fan base start to think it is time for a coaching change. Matt Ryan has been his usual self this season, already passing for 1,579 yards and 11 touchdowns. This is good enough to give the Falcons the second best passing team in all of the NFL. The run game has done a better job than years past. Atlanta has four backs that all see time carrying the ball, and they are averaging right at 115 yards a game on the ground which is good enough to be ranked right in the middle of the league. Now, to the defense. Man oh man is this defense BAD. Atlanta is ranked 24th in passing defense and 28 in rushing defense. These guys cannot stop anyone. The Falcons defense is so bad, that last week at New York in a one score game, Mike Smith was forced to go for a 4th down with about five minutes left to play on their own 29. The Falcons were stopped and that was essentially the game. Mike Smith in a press conference admitted he would do it again if he had to because he had no faith in his defense to get the stop. Wide receiver, Roddy White, has even gone on record to say that in order to win games, the Falcons are going to have to score 30 a game. If that does not fire the defense up, I do not know what will. That is the key to this game… The Falcons defense must stop Jay Cutler, Alshon Jeffery, and Brandon Marshall…oh, and Matt Forte. This game could be a high scoring affair, but if Atlanta has any chance to win, the defense is going to have to get some stops.
The Bears, just like Atlanta, comes into this game at 2-3. Chicago is a hard team to predict. They lose to teams like Buffalo, while beating the 49ers. Statistically, they are a pretty good team. Jay Cutler is averaging nearly 250 yards a game passing, and has already thrown 12 touchdown passes. Cutler does a good job spreading the ball around. Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and Martellus Bennett are all key components to this offense. In my opinion, in Atlanta, the Bears will need to get the run game going. Atlanta has not been good on defense which I just pointed out, and if Chicago can establish themselves and control the ball, it could be a long day for the Dirty Birds. The Bears defense has not been great, but they are okay enough to make a play here and there. The key on defense is to pressure Matt Ryan. The Falcons offensive line is in shambles. They have four starters out, and they are piecing together an O Line in order to protect their $100 Million Quarterback. If Chicago can pressure Ryan, they may have some success….if not, goodluck.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This is a tough game to predict. Both teams have their backs against the wall and it is much better to be .500 than to be 2-4 headed into week seven of the NFL season. I am going to base this game simply on Atlanta’s home success. I see a shootout taking place, but in the Dome, on the fast track, I like Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Roddy White to come out on top. I think the Falcons defense will make enough plays to keep them in this game, and the final score of Atlanta 38 – Chicago 34 will be good enough to get the cover. PICK THE ATLANTA FALCONS -3 AND OVER THE POSTED TOTAL OF 53.3 POINTS.