To open the season, the Falcons travel to Chicago to play the Bears at 1pm EST on September 10th. This should be a nice game to open the season with considering that the Bears aren’t expected to put up much of a fight.
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Bears’ 2016 Rankings
2016 Record: 3-13 [4th in NFC North]
Point Differential: -120 [28th]
Turnover Differential: -20 [T-31st]
Yards per game: 356.5 [15th]
Points per game: 17.4 [T-28th]
Passing yards per game: 248.1 [14th]
Rushing yards per game: 108.4 [17th]
Yards allowed per game: 346.8 [18th]
Points allowed per game: 24.9 [9th]
Passing yards per game: 224.9 [7th]
Rushing yards per game: 121.9 [27th]
Bears’ Important Additions
QB Mike Glennon [UFA – TB]
QB Mitchell Trubisky [Drafted, UNC – 1st Round]
CB Prince Amukamara [UFA – JAX]
WR Victor Cruz [UFA – NYG]
LB Dan Skuta [UFA – JAX]
S Eddie Jackson [Drafted, ALA – 4th Round]
TE Adam Shaheen [Drafted, Ashland – 2nd Round]
Bears’ Important Departures
WR Alshon Jeffery [UFA – PHI]
QB Jay Cutler [Retired]
CB Tracy Porter [UFA – Unsigned]
WR Eddie Royal [UFA – Unsigned]
DE Cornelius Washington [UFA – DET]
Bears’ Biggest Threat
The Bears’ offense was middle of the pack last season, but their starting receiver and quarterback left town. Lucky for them, they still have former rookie sensation Jordan Howard, who finished second in the NFL in rushing with 1,313 yards, including ten runs over twenty yards. He also added 298 yards receiving, averaging over ten yards per reception.
The rest of the offense will be breaking in a new quarterback in matter who starts and there’s significant uncertainty in the receiving corps, so Howard will have a lot of pressure to produce. We’ll see just how dangerous he can continue to be.
Falcons’ Offense Versus Bears’ Defense
The Bears secondary wasn’t great, but they did finish seventh in the NFL against the pass. The run defense on the other hand was porous. The Falcons would be smart to pound the rock early to loosen up the Bears’ revamped secondary.
Eddie Jackson and Prince Amukamara are upgrades over Tracy Porter (who’s still unsigned to no one’s surprise). Still, the Falcons should be able to throw on them with one of the league’s better receiving groups.
Falcons’ Defense Versus Bears’ Offense
I’m not as high as most on the Falcons’ defense since it finished in the bottom third of the league in both Average Yards Per Game and Points Per Game (average). Still, this is a great matchup for them since it will play to their strength: speed.
The Falcons should be up early which could make for a long day for Glennon (I doubt Trubisky starts early in the season). Like I said before, this is a great opportunity to see if the Falcons’ defense is the real deal or still a potential liability.
The Falcons are better than the Bears in nearly every area. Expect the Falcons to be up early and score often. This is a much better way to start the season coming off of a Super Bowl loss than the Panthers had last season.
The Falcons jump out to a quick lead and start to prepare early for the opening of their new stadium on primetime the next week.
Falcons 41 – Bears 16
Versus Green Bay Packers (Week Two)