The Bears (3-7) followed a familiar script against the Lions in Chicago last Sunday. Justin Fields was outstanding yet again with his legs and his arm but the undermanned defense collapsed late in another close loss. Next up is a road trip into the NFC South for a match up with the Falcons.
Atlanta (4-6) got off to a 4-4 start that had them in first place before a two-game losing streak knocked them back. Head coach Arthur Smith has quarterback Marcus Mariota behind the helm of a run-first offense that very much resembles the Bears top-ranked rushing attack.
The Falcons biggest weapon is former Bear Cordarrelle Patterson who is finally being used correctly and is having a breakout year running for 5.3 yards a carry out of the backfield. They have struggled a bit in the red-zone but are averaging a respectable 23.2 points per game.
Atlanta has had a lot of issues on defense, especially, stopping the pass where they give up more yards per game than any other team in football. Unsurprisingly, this translates into an overall shaky unit that gives up a unimpressive 25 points a game.
This matchup of two questionable defenses should lead to a high-scoring and entertaining game. The Bears should be hoping for their young quarterback to continue his positive trajectory from the last month. If they can also get a win, in addition to that, it would be a nice bonus.
Where to Watch/Listen
- Sunday, November 20 at 12:00pm CT on FOX, WBBM Radio (English), and WRTO Radio (Spanish).
Keys to Victory
- Take some shots down the field in the passing game. With the Falcons terrible pass defense Justin Fields should make some deep attempts and try to exploit it. He has completed several impressive deep balls over recent weeks.
- Force Atlanta into obvious passing situations. Mariota is not a good passing quarterback so it is an advantage to force him to throw. With the Bears struggles against the run in 2022 they may not be able to do that on Sunday.
- Beware of Atlanta’s return game. Cornerback Avery Williams leads the league in punt return average and Patterson is always a threat on kick returns. Those hidden yards may turn out to be big.
- David Montgomery must step up his game with Khalil Herbert out. Montgomery will likely get an increased share of carries at running back with Herbert on injured reserve with a hip injury. He will need to have a big game to help the Bears keep pace against a high-scoring Falcons team.
Don’t Tell Me the Odds
Chicago is back to being an underdog after being favored last week against the Lions. Atlanta is giving the standard three points at home against the Bears. The expectation is for a fair amount of offense with an over/under set at 49.
It’s Football Weather
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a retractable-roof facility and the temperature is climate-controlled at around 70 degrees.
Both teams will be able to move the ball pretty easily and it will be a high-scoring affair. I think Justin Fields plays well again but this time his defense makes that one key stop. The Bears do just enough to take home a narrow 34-31 victory in Atlanta.
Official Bears Preview
Here are Bears analysts Jeff Joniak and Tom Thayer with their preview of the Bears’ upcoming Week 11 matchup.