The Falcons and Bears have been playing since Atlanta's inception in 1966, and given the franchise's respective fortunes, it's been a surprisingly close little rivalry.
Over the 25 games the two have played, the Bears have 13 wins and the Falcons have 12. The two have met three times since Mike Smith started coaching this team, and this will be the first time Lovie Smith isn't prowling the sidelines for Chicago. I'm not sure whether Marc Trestman will prove more capable or not, but the Falcons have gone 2-1 since Smitty arrived, with the loss coming in ugly 30-12 fashion at Soldier Field.
The two wins, you likely remember. There was Matt Ryan's stellar drive at the very end of the team's 22-20 win in 2008, a win sealed by a 48 yard boot by Jason Elam. Another long, late drive sealed the deal in 2009, with Michael Turner punching in a touchdown from five yards out. Ah, good times.
The key to this game will likely be Atlanta's return to the Georgia Dome, plus the imminent returns of Justin Blalock and Harry Douglas. A little defensive gumption would also go a long way—particularly since Jay Cutler has thrown six interceptions, been sacked 12 times and fumbled five times in just five games—but the Falcons have been nigh-unstoppable at home on offense, which bodes well. The issue is that the Bears are also a formidable offensive team, with Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall, Martellus Bennett and the always dangerous Matt Forte. This has the potential to be another shootout, one the Falcons should be able to eke out. Call me optimistic if you will, but the only kind of game the Falcons seem to win these days is one where they can air it out, and the Bears' defense isn't the most intimidating one Atlanta will face at home this season.
Chances are it'll be a close, thrilling game, is what i'm saying. What's your guess as to the outcome?
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