Dave's off roaming a forest somewhere, desperately seeking a strong cell signal, so he's left me in charge for the day. It also just happens to be my birthday. You can leave your congratulatories below. On to business.
The Falcons absolutely stomped the 49ers last weekend, as our esteemed reader Funballad so eerily predicted last week. Therefore, everybody and their Vegas bookies have raised our esteemed Birds back up from the bottom of the Week 3 loser wood pile. The line on the game is currently Atlanta by a field goal. Some of us (including me) have the margin of victory a slight bit higher.
The defensive keys to a victory here are, as I've parroted in the past, adequate pressure up front and an improvement of our ability to stop the run. We've let through an average of 127 rush yards a game since Week 1, a stat the Bears are no doubt salivating over. Their number one rock carrier, Matt Forte, has been relatively quiet of late and I fully expect Chicago to try to get him the ball early and often against our assumed suspect rush defense. Expect Smitty and company to be anticipating this, though. I have a feeling we'll see better rush coverage. Oh, and a few more forced fumbles would help too.
Analysts can talk all they want to about Cutler and Ryan dueling it out on the turf. Mark my words, this game will come down to rush offense. With Turner re-establishing himself and Forte looking for a breakout game, expect the winner of this one to have impressive rush stats and scores. That said, I'm still looking forward to a banner day for our young quarterback and his strong receiving corps.
Now, how about them links?
- Newsflash: Brian Williams (yes, that Brian Williams of 2 INT and 1 fumble recovery) is listed as questionable for tomorrow's game. Am I worried? A little, especially considering his almost immediate impact in our secondary. If he is indeed out, could this be an opening for a newly-healthy William Moore? FYI, the injury is listed on the main site as having to do with one of his eyes. I guess if you can't see the ball, you can't very well intercept it...
- The man leading our OL has been referred to by players as a mean, salty old man. Perfect leader for such a rough and tumble group. John Manasso's article on the offensive line is a fantastic read. I know I already linked to it yesterday, but it bears relinkage.
- Roundtable of picks: A Chicago radio analyst picked the Falcons to demolish the Bears; talk about fair and balanced. Peter King, as well as the SI Game projection writer (whomever they are) have gone with the upset pick; vibe at SI is very pro-Hester; special mention to Ross Tucker, who admits "If the Falcons play like [they did against San Francisco] again Sunday, the Bears have no shot. None. In fact, I'm not sure anyone would..." Only one Fox Sportster picks the Bears over the Falcons. Likewise at ESPN. Consensus: Falcons dominate.
- Great article up at NFL.com on Atlanta's Trifecta of Talent at QB, WR, and RB.
- Bears may only have one backup behind Matt Forte this weekend. I guess they don't have a Jason Snelling type third stringer to spell their main rushing twosome. Adrian Peterson (no, not that one) is out with a knee injury, so Chicago could be forced to start the game under-manned at the running back position.
- Ovie Mughelli's still questionable for the game. We're so stacked at the back position that I'm not that worried. While Snelling isn't a great receiver, he's a good blocker and a power runner. I could see him as a full back stand in. He's certainly got the size. Jeez, I just realized. Behind Turner we have Norwood and Snelling. Behind Ovie we have Snelling and, to a lesser extent, Haynes. What depth!
- Jamaal Anderson is loving his new position. So am I. Keep it up JA98.