Atlanta Falcons at Chicago Bears Free Pick - Odds - ATS Prediction
Atlanta made it all the way to the Super Bowl last season before a historic collapse resulted in a 34-28 OT loss to New England. Chicago was bad all year and plummeted to a 3-13 record, their fewest wins since the league expanded to a 16-game schedule.
The Falcons return all of their stars on offense but have a new OC in Steve Sarkisian. His task is to not gum up the works but look for him to at least call a few running plays if Atlanta has a big 3rd-quarter lead in 2017. QB Matt Ryan is back and seems to have a good attitude regarding the year following such a season-ending disaster. He’ll have a healthy WR Julio Jones to attack a secondary that features 4 new starters. Ryan was great at distributing the ball to many different receivers last season and I don’t expect that to change in 2017. Chicago had 37 sacks last year and has an ascending player in OLB Leonard Floyd but Ryan should have time to make throws downfield. The Bears’ run defense yielded 122 ypg last season and a healthy 4.4 ypc. They can expect to see a lot of the RB tandem of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman this week. The pair combined for 1,599 rushing yards and 19 TDs on the ground last season and should be able to duplicate that production in 2017. All in all, there is simply too much offensive talent for this defense to contain.
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Despite using the 2nd-overall pick on QB Mitch Trubisky in the draft, Chicago will start QB Mike Glennon this week. He hasn’t played in a regular season game for a few years and isn’t the most mobile QB. No.1 WR Cam Meredith is out for the year with a torn ACL and last year’s No.1 wideout, Alshon Jeffery, is now an Eagle. WR Kevin White was the 7th-overall draft pick in 2015 but has played in only 4 games in 2 years. Not a lot of firepower at Glennon’s disposal and I expect him to struggle in this matchup against a young but very fast defense. The Falcons were victimized through the air a lot last season but usually against top-flight passing attacks. They also have No.1 CB Desmond Trufant back from injury (only 6 games played in ’16). What the Bears do have is a good running back in Jordan Howard. He ranked 2nd in the NFL in rushing in 2016 with 1,313 yards. Atlanta’s run defense has been bolstered by the signing of DT Dontari Poe, a former nose tackle with the Chiefs.
Public Money Consensus
In this week 1 Sunday football matchup between Atlanta and Chicago have the public heavily leaning to the Falcons to cover the 7 point spread with over 70%. The over/under bettors are banking on this game staying under the posted total line of 48.5 with 63% on board with this thinking.
Atlanta Falcons at Chicago Bears Week 1 NFL Prediction
This is a good game for the Flacons coming off their nightmarish Super Bowl loss. They face an opponent that is really a step down in class and have too many weapons for a defense breaking in several new starters. Their young defense has added some solid rookies and their many rookie starters from a year ago are a year older and wiser. Glennon knows he is just keeping the seat warm for Trubisky and any enthusiasm he had at finally getting a chance to start is over. He also looked shaky in the preseason. I look for a comfortable win by the visitor.
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