The Atlanta Falcons enter today after a heartbreaking loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. The Falcons led by 15 with under eight minutes to go, but could not recover an onside kick, which led to the game-winning field goal by Dallas. The offense has been explosive thus far, but the defense has been among the league’s worst.
The Chicago Bears are just the opposite. The Bears defense is solid, and has been the catalyst behind the 2-0 start. The offense, led by Mitchell Trubisky, has not developed the consistency needed to be among the top offenses in the league.
Sunday’s matchup between the Bears and Falcons will feature strength on strength (Falcons O vs Bears D) and weakness on weakness (Bears O vs Falcons D). Those matchups will be the storyline on Sunday in Atlanta.
There has been minimal movement on the line in this contest. Atlanta opened as a 3.5-point favorite and as of Saturday night, still stands as a three-point favorite in the contest. 72 percent of the bets against the spread are backing the Falcons in this contest.
The over/under has slipped down slightly in this contest as well. After opening at 48, the total has ticked down a point to 47 for this one. 67 percent of the wagers on the total in this contest are of the mindset that this one ends up over the total.
Game-time Weather: It's a dome. That means 68 degrees and no winds as a factor. Should they open the dome, temperature at kickoff is expected to be in the high-70s and climb to the low 80s. There is up to a 50 percent chance of rain in the forecast as the afternoon wears on. Winds would be from the south at under five miles an hour.
Can Bears Defense Shut Down a Top Offense?The Chicago Bears have long been known for their defense. This season is no exception. In Sunday’s 17-13 win over the Giants, the Bears defense limited the Giants to 295 total yards of offense and sacked Daniel Jones four times. After two weeks, the Bears have the league’s third-best defense, allowing just 360.5 yards per game. The defense has limited the Giants and Lions to 9-29 third-down conversions in their two close wins.
Eddie Jackson and Roquan Smith lead the team with 12 tackles, while Akheim Hicks leads the Bears with 2 sacks on the young season. Deon Bush and Kyle Fuller both have one interception on the season.
Last week, Mitchell Trubisky engineered three first-half scoring drives to build a 17-0 halftime lead. Trubisky threw for 159 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, but only had 31 passing yards with two interceptions in the second half. Overall this season, Trubisky has completed 38 of 64 passes for 432 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions. David Montgomery leads the rushing unit with 146 yards on 29 carries, but has not found the end zone. Receiver Allen Robinson leads the Bears with 107 receiving yards.
OUT: CB Artie Burns, TE Darion Clark, NT Eddie Goldman, NT John Jenkins, DB Michael Joseph, DB Jordan Lucas, K Eddy Piniero, DB Tre Roberson
Questionable: DT Mario Edwards Jr.
Will the Falcons Have Hangover from Tough Loss to DallasHow Atlanta recovers from the heartbreaking loss to Dallas will be a huge storyline in this game. After blowing a 15 point lead with under eight minutes to go, the Falcons will have to find a way to move the ball consistently against one of the best defenses in the league. The good news is the offense seems up to the task.
Matt Ryan is having one of the best starts to his career. He has a 109.6 passer rating through two games to go along with his six touchdowns and one interception. Ryan is also the league’s top passer with 38 passing first downs through the first two games. Calvin Ridley has hauled in 16 passes for 239 yards and four touchdowns and is on pace to have well over 1000 receiving yards. The Falcons have yet to get Todd Gurley going in the offense, however, as he has picked up only 117 yards in two games. One issue may be the availability or WR Julio Jones (hamstring), who is listed as questionable.
The biggest disappointment has been the defense. Despite recovering three first quarter fumbles against Dallas, the defense has yielded 476.5 yards per game, which is second to last in the league. The Falcons have also allowed a league worst 39 points per game, but against two of the more dynamic offenses in the NFL this season. They get some relief against a Bears offense that has struggled with consistency.
OUT: S Ricardo Allen, DB Jordan Miller, DB Kendall Sheffield, CB A.J. Terrell
Questionable: DE Dante Fowler Jr., WR Julio Jones, T Kaleb McGary, DE Takkarist McKinley, LB Foyesade Oluokun, TE Luke Stocker
- Atlanta: 5-1 ATS last six games
- Atlanta: 4-2 in last six games
- Chicago: 1-4 ATS last five games
- Chicago: 1-5 ATS in last six road games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I like the Falcons in this one. Chicago gave up 23 points to the Lions earlier this season, and the Falcons have a much more dynamic offense. The question is whether the Falcons can stop the Bears. They might not have to because the Bears offense has trouble getting out of its own way at times thanks to the Trubisky factor. It’s the strength of the Falcons’ matchups in this one that gives the team hopes of its first win of 2020. I think they get it Sunday.
Prediction: Atlanta -3.5
Full-Game Total Pick
The Bears have one of the best defenses in the league, but will be going up against one of the best offenses in the league. On the other side, Chicago is not a good offense, and should struggle to score in this one. Also consider the trends: the last five games between the Bears and Falcons in Atlanta have gone UNDER, as well as nine of the last 10 between the two teams. I think that the trend continues in this one.
Prediction: UNDER 47.5