NFL Week 10: Who's the Better Team in the NFC, Atlanta Falcons or Chicago Bears?
The Falcons remain the league's only unbeaten team while the Bears only have one loss on their record. Both teams play a different style of football but have gotten exceptional results regardless.
The Falcons are led by one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Matt Ryan. With their Pro Bowl quarterback putting up career-high numbers, Atlanta has had great offensive success and have killed the opposition by using long drives to tire out defenses.
The Bears are led by Jay Cutler, a man who never seems to be satisfied no matter what the situation may be. His stubborn and isolated ways have caused stirrups about his leadership skills, but he's found a way to lead his team to the top of the NFC North.
It also doesn't hurt that Chicago has the most feared and respected defense in the entire league.
Though both teams are at the front of the conference, they've each had their struggles along the way. Chicago fell to rival Green Bay in Week 2 and struggled against the disappointing Carolina Panthers at home in Week 8.
As for the Falcons, they are two clutch drives away from being 6-2. They needed come-from-behind victories to beat those pesky Panthers and the Oakland Raiders at home.
The question must now be raised: Are the Falcons or the Bears the best team in the NFC?
Passing: Atlanta Falcons
As long as Matt Ryan is the quarterback of this team, the Falcons will always have the advantage.
Atlanta has the best wide receiver duo in Roddy White and Julio Jones, as well as a future Hall of Fame tight end in Tony Gonzalez.
Jay Cutler, on the other hand, finally got a legitimate target to throw to for the first time since coming to Chicago. Having said that, Brandon Marshall is about all Cutler has to work with at the moment.
The Bears are averaging less than 200 yards per game through the air and are near the bottom of the league in total passing offense. Maybe if Cutler had more than two seconds to throw the ball he'd have better numbers.
Rushing: Chicago Bears
Where the Bears lack in passing production, they more than make up for it with Matt Forte and Michael Bush in the backfield.
Forte is averaging a yard more per carry than Atlanta's Michael Turner, and Bush has been the Bears' most legitimate goal line option.
Bush hasn't exactly been your average backup this season either. He's averaging 3.4 yards per carry and is nearly unstoppable near the end zone. When Darren McFadden went down with a Lisfranc injury last season in Oakland, Bush took over the starting role and flourished for nearly 1,000 yards.
Atlanta can't count on Jacquizz Rodgers to do that if something should happen to Turner.
Defense: Chicago Bears
The Bears have one of the most electrifying defenses in NFL history this season, one that is actually out-scoring the opposition.
Chicago is loaded on all three levels, something Atlanta lacks. The Falcons let Oakland's Carson Palmer throw for over 350 yards on them in the Georgia Dome and are 24th in the league against the run.
Though the Bears gave up some yards on the ground to Tennessee and Carolina, they still have way more playmakers on defense than the Falcons.
Special Teams: Chicago Bears
Devin Hester is always a threat whenever he's back returning kicks and punts. He's the kind of player that can change the game by one quick cut to the end zone.
The Falcons just don't have anyone like that on their team.
It's a toss-up when it comes to the kickers. Chicago's Robbie Gould and Atlanta's Matt Bryant have both missed at least two field goals, but have been clutch when they needed to be this season.
Comeback Potential: Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons may be 8-0, but they've been susceptible a time or two this season and have been forced to earn a few of their wins the hard way.
Atlanta has three come-from-behind victories this year and it's proven to be an important factor in their success.
Coming from behind to steal a victory is a huge morale boost for a team as it lets the rest of the league know that you are never to be counted out.
The Bears have really only been tested twice this season and it resulted in their only loss: an ugly 13-point defeat to the Packers. It almost got worse when they trailed by 12 late in the game to Carolina.
The Falcons have faced a few more difficult challenges, but answered them when they needed to. I'm not sure the Bears would be able to come back if they fell behind big to Atlanta.
Better Team: Atlanta Falcons
This decision was not an easy one by any means. Both teams are solid in their own right and it's a strong possibility they will meet in the NFC Championship game.
Who is the best team in the NFC?
Until they lose, the Falcons remain the better team. They've proven they can play from behind and have gotten more consistency out of their quarterback.
If both teams were to play each other on a neutral field, it would be a 19-16 dogfight with either team more than capable of winning.
Hopefully we can see it happen in January.
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