Lovie Smith has gone on record to say that he won’t be using last season’s loss to Atlanta to motivate his team heading into Sunday Night’s game.
Luckily he won’t have to; I’m sure most of the team are still sore from that loss (along with a couple others) and will use it to motivate themselves.
The Bears defensive line is probably the sorest of the entire team. Their failure to put pressure on then rookie Matt Ryan allowed him to throw for 301 yards and a touchdown.
Getting pressure on any quarterback is the game plan of every defense but in the Bears’ case it goes double so due to the inconsistent play of the secondary.
The Bear safeties will have to concern themselves with helping to stop the run which leaves the cornerbacks in man coverage against Roddy White and the rest of the Falcons receiving corps.
Michael Turner can gain yards in a hurry and has a respectable 3.7 yards per carry so far this season.
Like last season in acquiring Michael Turner the Falcons have upgraded their offense this past off season with the addition of arguably the best tight end of all-time Tony Gonzalez.
Gonzalez has shown little of his age thus far in his tenure with the Falcons posting 215 yards and two touchdowns. Bear line backers will have their hands full keeping Gonzalez in check.
The Bears offensive line knows exactly what it has to do; open running lanes for Matt Forte. They’ve had two weeks to work out the kinks in the running game.
I hope the Bears don’t succumb to elaborate running and blocking schemes and continue to pound the ball between the tackles. If the offensive line can get a little push Matt Forte is more than capable of finding the hole.
Jay Cutler and the rest of the offense needs to continue to do what it’s done for the last three games; score points and limit turnovers.
Spreading the ball around has helped keep opposing defenses on their toes so we can expect more of the same Sunday Night.
Utilizing speedsters like Devin Hester and Johnny Knox not only help stretch the field but they also have the ability to make something happen after the catch. Earl Bennett has quietly gained more receiving yards than any other Bears player and continues to look better at running routes.
Tight ends Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark (even Kellen Davis) are sure-handed big men who can tear up the middle of the field.
To put it plainly the Bears have enough weapons to put up points on the Falcons the question that remains is if the defense can stop Matt Ryan and Co. from scoring.
Players to Watch
Whoever plays middle line backer: The Falcons have an impressive arsenal of weapons that can cause trouble in the middle of the field particularly the running backs and tight ends. Keeping the second level of the defense air tight is necessary to give the rest of the defense a chance.
Charles Tillman: ”Peanut” will have to be in Roddy White’s pocket to keep his impact minimal. Creating turnovers is Tillman’s specialty, the Bears will need one this week.
Olin Kreutz: The offensive line has been under fire for failing to open up holes in the running game. If that doesn’t change against the Falcons the Bears won’t win. Kreutz is the leader of that unit and will have to be the one to set the example and get the ground game going again.
Key to the Game Running game. Whoever effectively runs the ball will control the clock as well as the deep pass and win the game. The Bears have proven they can throw the ball but running will help to keep the potent Falcon offense off the field.