The Falcons are set to host the Bears in a Week 11 tilt between two pretty uninspiring teams. Both rosters are in desperate need of talent. Chicago and Atlanta are the bottom two teams in the league in dead money and salary cap dollars allocated to active rostered players; they are clearly rebuilding. It is a homecoming of sorts, though.
Justin Fields is from the greater Atlanta area and attended Georgia before transferring to Ohio State. There are other connections too. The Falcons brought former Bears GM Ryan Pace into the building, which resulted in a bevy of former Bears players signing with the Falcons.
The Dirty Birds are looking to stop a skid the past two weeks, while the Bears have lost three of their previous four games, despite averaging 31.0 points. The reason for that is the Chicago defense, which has surrendered 32.3 points per game over that same stretch. The Falcons have experienced offensive struggles during the past couple of weeks, and this could be the game that Arthur Smith’s group gets back on track; lord knows Marcus Mariota needs it.
Unfortunately, the Falcons’ defense has been terrible in recent weeks and is one of the worst units in football. Opponents score on nearly 45% of their drives against Dean Pees’ group, second to last in the league. Injuries have decimated the Falcons’ secondary, and they’re statistically the worst pass defense in the NFL. A.J. Terrell is hopeful of returning this week, but I don’t think it’ll matter much; the Bears aren’t scaring anyone throwing the ball around the yard. They’ve been a dominant running team.
The Bears’ rushing attack ranks first in yards per rush (5.6), yards per game (201.7), and attempts per game (36.0). The offensive line isn’t some dominant force, though. Like Atlanta’s rushing attack, Chicago’s use of their quarterback’s legs makes for an incredibly diverse scheme. The Falcons will put a similar amount of pressure on the Bears’ defense too.
Honestly, both of these teams are built similarly. The Falcons should win, and Vegas’ odds reflect that. But as we’ve seen from the Dirty Birds recently, they’re still an untalented roster that is overachieving. We’ll see what they do against an opponent of a similar skill level.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire