The Chicago Bears take their 2-0 record to Atlanta as they take on the Falcons in Week 3. Here are predictions for the game.
Not many people outside of Chicago Bears Nation expected this team to be among the undefeated teams in the NFL after two weeks. In fact, many people feel that the Bears are undeserving of being undefeated. They made a furious comeback in Week 1 to come away with an incredible win against the Detroit Lions. In Week 2, they ended up being the ones trying to hang on as the New York Giants staged a comeback of their own. They did hang on, however, and now count as one of the 11 undefeated teams in the league.
A win is a win and the Bears have two of them in two weeks. No matter how ugly they’ve been in winning those games, the record looks beautiful.
Now, after celebrating two wins in a row, the Bears turn their attention to the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons are looking for their first win. They’re coming off of a loss to the Dallas Cowboys, a loss in which they blew a 20-0 first-quarter lead.
The Falcons come into this game upset about how the season is going for them. They’re still ok, since the NFC South leaders New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are just 1-1, but they have a lot to fix before they can try to overtake the leaders.
The Bears still have some fixing to do themselves before they’re considered true contenders. Playing against the Falcons could help fix (or at least cover up) a lot.
For now, here are some predictions for the game:
The Chicago Bears defense comes fired up to show they’re still elite
For some reason, a lot of people criticize the Chicago Bears defense. They say the unit isn’t dominating the way some felt it would. Part of that is that there are new players on the defense and the players are getting accustomed to how this defense plays.
However, the defense is still in the top-ten in points allowed, turnovers, passing touchdowns allowed (ranking 3rd), total turnovers (7th), passing touchdowns allowed (1st) interceptions (5th), pass yards per attempt (10th), and rushing touchdowns (10th). That sure looks like an elite defense.
Yes, Matthew Stafford carved the defense in Week 1. But if you look closer, they gave up 20 points in about a 16 minute period of time. Before that and in the fourth quarter, they gave up just three points.
Also, the defense only gave up 13 points total to the Giants. That game should’ve been a cakewalk. The defense had a bend-but-don’t-break attitude and that’s exactly what happened. They gave up a ton of short plays but minimized the big play. They forced the Giants to use up a lot of clock on their drives. In the end, the Bears did what they needed to do to get the win.
Now the Bears face a Falcons team that has a high-powered offense. Atlanta ranks in the top-ten in points scored (5th), yards gained (4th), passing attempts (2nd), passing yards (2nd), and passing touchdowns (2nd).
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What the offense has trouble with is their rushing attack. They rank 28th in rushing yards, 21st in rushing touchdowns, and 30th in average yards per rush. The Bears, without nose tackle Eddie Goldman in the middle of the defensive line, are trying to find their sea legs. Bilal Nichols replaced Goldman by moving from defensive end to the nose, but he is still learning the nuances of the position. The unit hasn’t done too bad, ranking 11th in rushing yards allowed and 10th in rushing touchdowns allowed. They only rank 19th in average rushing yards allowed, but again, that’s the bend but don’t break work kicking in.
If the Bears shut down Atlanta’s rushing attack early, they can go all out on the pass. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has done a good job of protecting the ball. In 90 pass attempts, he only has one interception. The offense as a whole only lost one fumble. Two turnovers is pretty good. On a related note, the Chicago Bears offense also has just two turnovers (two interceptions against the Giants).
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The Bears’ defense hears what people are saying and by coming up big against this offense it’ll silence those critics. Safety Eddie Jackson is still fuming over having his interception overturned on a controversial pass interference call made against him. He’ll want to attack and try to get one in this game.
The Three Amigos of the defense, Akiem Hicks, Khalil Mack, and Robert Quinn, started their first game together last week and made their impact early. They each had a sack and their pressure forced two New York turnovers. They want some more of that this week.
Prediction: The Bears defense forces two fumbles and an interception and records four sacks.
Robinson has himself a game
Last week was a tumultuous one for wide receiver Allen Robinson. In the middle of the week, reports came out that he requested a trade because he and the Bears didn’t come up with a deal on an extension. That came shortly after he scrubbed all mention of the Chicago Bears on his Instagram account.
Robinson’s agent came out and publicly denied that there was any trade request. He did say, however, that Robinson was upset that there was no deal done yet.
The week culminated in Robinson receiving criticism over two interceptions on passes thrown to him. Some people questioned his effort on both passes. He didn’t deserve it, though. One was a pass thrown into triple coverage and another was just a sensational play made by the defender.
It’s funny how a player receives criticism when he gets in a contract dispute. Suddenly people question everything the player does. Robinson has been a model player since the moment he set foot at Halas Hall. He works hard and he’s a leader in the locker room, helping other receivers improve.
Look for Robinson to show that questioning his effort is a mistake.
Prediction: Robinson finishes with 6 catches for 127 yards and a touchdown.
This is a great opportunity for Trubisky and the offense to have a complete game
One of the criticisms of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is that he hasn’t had a complete game yet. He struggled through three quarters in Week 1. In Week 2, he had a great first half but disappeared in the second half.
Trubisky knows he hasn’t played the way he and the team want. He knows there is room for improvement.
You’re always happy about the win, but not too happy because we haven’t played a full game. We know what we’re capable of if we do play four quarters… If we take care of our jobs, then we can be proud of that.
This game should be a gift for Trubisky. The Falcons defense has more holes in it than Swiss cheese. The unit gave up 78 points in the first two weeks, the most of any team in the league. It also ranks 31st in total yards allowed.
Against the pass, Atlanta ranks 31st in yards allowed, 25th in touchdowns allowed, and 26th in interceptions. Against the run, the Falcons rank 31st in rushing touchdowns allowed with 5.
The Bears offensive line has done a good job so far this season. The running game is greatly improved, ranking 11th in yards and 10th in touchdowns.
This is a perfect matchup for Trubisky to look good. The Falcons defense is porous so he could take advantage of that. Since their rush defense is bad as well, David Montgomery and friends can provide Trubisky with some cover. If they can get big chunks of yards, the Falcons cannot fall back expecting the pass all the time.
If Trubisky has any struggles with this defense then his hold on the starting quarterback job becomes more tenuous.
Prediction: Trubisky finishes the game with 303 yards and 3 touchdowns, one interception. Adds 38 yards rushing. Montgomery finishes with 127 yards from scrimmage.
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