The Atlanta Falcons return home to take on the Chicago Bears in a tremendous match up of wide receivers. Both teams are coming off of two straight losses. Who can avoid the dreaded three game slide?
By William Harrison Published 10/12/2014 11:00:00 | Views: 2000
Julio Jones looks to add to his 3 touchdowns against Chicago

The Atlanta Falcons (2-3) find their team in a do or die situation on Sunday afternoon.  Coming off of two straight road losses, the Falcons need protect home field for the third time this season. Normally, a loss this early in the season wouldn’t be a death nail, but the way Atlanta performs on the road, every home game is a must win from here on out.  

The Falcons welcome another struggling team out of the NFC North. The Chicago Bears (2-3) are also on a two game slide, and their offense has been less impressive than Atlanta’s over the same time frame. The Bears have one of the few receiving tandems that can match the Falcons, and you can bet the pass catches will be the focal point for both defenses.

Atlanta has only scored 48 points since their 56 point outburst over Tampa Bay a few weeks ago.  However, it’s more about the Falcons being consistently inconsistent. In the last two losses, the Falcons haven’t scored a point in the fourth quarter. Overall, the Falcons have 17 points in the final stanza, and all of those points came in the first two games.  

For Atlanta to become a great team, they must finish games strong. Although the Falcons have been good at home, they can’t just rely on the crowd against this Bears team.  Chicago’s only two wins have come on the road against San Francisco and the New York Jets. Chicago also had a big lead in their loss to Carolina last week, so they will be ready for the road challenge.

Matt Ryan has taken a slight dip in his on field performance over the last couple of weeks. He and Jay Cutler have played to a virtual stand still up to this point in the season.  Both players have six interceptions, while Ryan has one fewer touchdown with 11.  

Atlanta’s passing offense has been great, but it has been coming at the expense of the running game.  The Falcons most explosive running back, Antone Smith has done his damage on limited carries. Hopefully, Smith can earn a few more touches this week.  

Still, the offense relies heavily on Julio Jones. He already has 40 receptions, which is 14 more than Alshon Jeffery of the Bears. Both players average 13.8 yards per reception, and they each have the ability to make the big play.  Roddy White for Atlanta and Brandon Marshall for Chicago have been slowed by injuries early in the season. However, Marshall leads the Bears with five spectacular touchdowns.  

Atlanta must contend with the versatility of Matt Forte. He touches the ball 23 times per game as the do it all running back, and has been a match up nightmare for opponents this season.  

Atlanta is currently one game out of first place, but they are also a potential loss away from sitting in the cellar of the NFC South. The offense should be fine at home, but they must gather a semblance of defense to pull off a huge conference win.       

By William Harrison 10/12/2014 11:00:00

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