I have football-induced ADHD. Knowing that we have an actual Falcons game that matters to watch tomorrow is rendering me unable to focus on anything, including writing for The Falcoholic. However, I’ve done my best to concentrate just long enough to pull together some thoughts on one offensive player and one defensive player that I expect to stand out during tomorrow’s matchup at Soldier Field. Join me after the jump as I drop some predictions on you.
Given the arsenal of receivers Matt Ryan has to work with this season, as long as the Falcons’ offensive line can hold up reasonably well against the Bears’ genuinely good defensive line, our receivers should have a good day. One receiver in particular that I expect to make significant contributions to the Falcons’ success against the Bears is Harry Douglas.
Douglas managed to make an impact in preseason, even with limited playing time, racking up 178 yards and two touchdowns on just nine receptions. I do not have any statistics to back this up, but we all know that HD is faster than lightning.
Chicago’s secondary is not necessarily known for being elite, and their starting corners will have their hands full trying to cover Roddy White and Julio Jones, and somebody else will have to keep an eye on Tony Gonzalez. I feel pretty confident that Douglas can manage any matchup the Bears throw at him. The potential exists for Douglas to come out of the slot and make some explosive plays. I don’t know about you, but I would love to see another 78-yard touchdown, like the one he scored in preseason, tomorrow against the Bears.
On defense, we have all been eager to see how Ray Edwards will fit into the Falcons’ defensive scheme. We got a glimpse of Edwards fulfilling his purpose during last week’s preseason matchup against Baltimore, when he brought pressure that allowed Kroy Biermann to land a sack.
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked a grand total of 52 times last year. The Bears did draft a stout right tackle in first rounder Gabe Carimi, but the rookie is the main upgrade to an offensive line that allowed Cutler to be consistently manhandled last year. As a matter of fact, after losing center Olin Kreutz to the New Orleans Saints, the Bears’ offensive line has been shuffled around a little bit, so they are experiencing a bit of an adjustment process as well. Cutler is generally not exceptional under pressure, and has no true number one receiver to count on when he has to get rid of the ball quickly. Brent Grimes may have a field day with errant throws made under pressure. If Edwards can bring pressure and allow John Abraham to really prey upon Jay Cutler, it could very well influence the game in the Falcons’ favor.
Soldier Field is by no means an easy place to win a game, and this is a Bears team that made it to the NFC Championship Game last year. They should not be taken lightly. However, with multiple offensive weapons and improvements on defense, the Falcons, and particularly Harry Douglas and Ray Edwards, should be able to exploit Chicago’s weaknesses and come away with a win.