This is the second article in a series of four articles that I am writing to preview the 2009 Chicago Bears season.
Training camp is right around the corner, and that means the NFL season is on the way. So enjoy my previews.
The Bears bye week is during week five, so I will skip ahead to the week six match up.
Week Six: at Atlanta, Oct. 18, 7:15 CST
The Bears travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons for the second year in a row. This time it will be on NBC's Sunday Night Football.
Both teams on paper match up pretty evenly.
Last years game between the two teams was a excellent game, even though the Bears lost a heart breaker.
The Bears scored with eleven seconds left to go ahead, but a quick Matt Ryan pass and then a field goal won it for Atlanta.
Depending on how the first couple weeks of the season goes, this could be a huge match up for playoff seeds for both teams.
Atlanta is led by quarterback Matt Ryan who is looking to avoid the so-called "Sophmore Slump."
The Bears had trouble stopping Atlanta's run game last year with Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood leading the way.
The key to the game for the Bears is to play solid defense. Atlanta likes to pound the ball with Turner, and let Matt Ryan do his thing through the air.
If Chicago can play good defense for 60 minutes they should come out victorious.
I see this game being decided again in the final seconds with special teams. This time though, I think the Bears come out on top. This has the potential to be a really great game.
Final Score Prediction: Bears 23, Falcons 20.
Week Seven: at Cincinnati, Sunday Oct. 25, 12:00 CST
The Bears travel to Cincinnati to take on a Bengals team who hasn't made the playoffs since 2006.
This should be a good game for Chicago to get a out of division win, and truly see where their team is at in the season.
The last time these two teams met was way back in 2005 when the Bengals came into Soldier Field and whooped the Bears.
This is a much different Bengals team since the last time the Bears saw them. They lost wide receiver TJ Houshmandzadeh to free agency, Carson Palmer has not been the same since his injury, and Chad Ochocinco has had all kinds of problems the last few years.
The Bengals are still the Bengals from last season and on paper the Bears are a much more talented team.
The Bears also get to face their former teammate Cedric Benson for the first time since they released him in the Summer of 2008.
I predict the Bears will come out and get a big lead on a poor Bengals defense. Cutler should be able to take advantage of the week defense and play a solid game.
The Bengals offense doesnt look like it can match up with the Bears defense, so advantage Bears in that one.
Final Score Prediction: Bears 30, Bengals 13
Week Eight: vs Cleveland, Nov. 1, 12:00 CST
The Bears play their second straight AFC North opponent when the Cleveland Browns come to town on the first day of November.
These two teams met in 2005 with Cleveland winning a real close game at home. This time it's in Chicago. Where the last time these teams met here something special happend.
You may remember a chilly October afternoon in 2001 when the Browns came into town to take on the Bears.
The Browns built a size able lead before the Bears made their comeback, and led to Mike Browns game winning interception return for a touchdown in over time.
I don't see the Browns improving much off of last years bad season. They still don't know who their quarterback is right now, and quite frankly we might not know who we are going to see in week eight.
Brady Quinn? or Derek Anderson?
I see Chicago being way too much for the Browns to handle especially in Chicago.
The Bears should be right a top the NFC North around this time, and the fans will be excited in Chicago.
Chicago's defense also has the players to shut down Cleveland's average offense.
This wont be a blowout and the Browns could make it close at the end, but I like Chicago.
Final Score Prediction: Bears 17, Browns 13
Week Nine: vs Arizona, Nov. 8, 12:00 CST
The defending NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals come into Chicago in what could be a huge game in determining playoff seed's in the NFC.
With all the trade speculation involving Anquan Boldin, this might not be the same Cardinals team that won the NFC a year ago.
This will be a good match up between two teams that originated in Chicago.
The Keys for the Bears will be to stop the Cardinals passing game. Pressure on Kurt Warner is a must. We cant let him have time to fire to his targets.
Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald are two good receivers that can change the game at any time. If the Bears defense fails to play well, it could be a long day for Chicago.
The Bears' offense gives them a shot to win the game, but it all relies on the defensive play, and especially the corner backs.
Final Score Prediction: Cardinals 17, Bears 13
Key Player: Tommie Harris. It's important for Tommie to get off to a good start, but better yet be healthy for the whole season. The midway point is where we will see if Tommie can stay healthy. If he is able to stay healthy, the Bears can have one of the best defensive lines in football.