Bears-Falcons: Chicago Looks to Keep Their Streak Alive in Atlanta

Nathan VenegasCorrespondent IOctober 9, 2008

After steamrolling the Lions, the Bears head into another dome this week against the upstart Atlanta Falcons.

Atlanta is fresh off a victory up in Green Bay. No doubt the Falcons have surprised many people in the NFL, none more so than the Falcon fans.

This is the first time this season the Bears will face a rookie QB. So far this season, the Bears have played a quarterback who’s either has Super Bowl experience (Delhomme, Manning, McNabb) or been in the league for a few years (Kitna, Griese).

Some would argue that Griese had an inside track on the Bears' D after playing in Chicago. So it will be interesting to see how rookie Matt Ryan will approach the Bears' defense, who needs to prove they can stop the pass.

Matt Forte’s rushing numbers have dropped in recent weeks but his impact on the team has not. Forte made a heads-up play at the goal line against the Lions and a good candidate for the screen pass. It would be very nice to see Forte’s rushing numbers go up in the coming weeks, but it would be hard to find any Chicago Bears fan who’s disappointed with the young man.

The Bears' secondary will have to keep an eye on wideout Roddy White. He’s been the big-play man for the Falcons in the passing game. A healthy Charles Tillman should keep him in check, but if he finds seams in the coverage, then the Bears are in for a long day.

I can’t forget to mention that Rashied Davis has caught a few passes in recent weeks rather than dropping them. Let’s get back this guys confidence, line him up in the slot alongside Devin Hester and Brandon Lloyd.


Players to Watch

Dusty Dvoraceck: Dusty has been a major part in the Bears' run defense all season, so it’ll be up to him to set the tempo and stop the one-two punch of Turner and Norwood.

Tommie Harris: Fans and critics have been down on Harris since he signed his big-money contract this past offseason. Something I don’t understand, because the Pro Bowl defensive tackle has played hurt the last year-and-a-half and played beautifully.

Okay so he’s getting off to a slow start this season, but I think we can afford that to a player of Harris’ caliber. Look for Harris to harass rookie QB Matt Ryan every time Ryan drops back to pass.

Devin Hester: He’s shown the same field awareness and speed as a wide receiver he’s shown previously in the return game. Look for his development to continue this week.


Key to the Game

Stopping the run. The Bears need to slow Michael Turner and put the ball in the hands of rookie Matt Ryan. Let him try to beat you through the air. Shake the QB up early with some sacks or picks, and the Bears will be on their way to victory.

Many a QB has said that their best friend is a good running game. Michael Turner is the leagues leading rusher so Matt Ryan has a good friend so far this season. Take the run threat away and we’ll see what Ryan does when the games in his hands.