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After breaking down film of both teams, Scouts Inc. offers 10 things to watch in this week's Falcons-Bears matchup.

1. Create Big Plays: While the Falcons were very methodical and efficient on offense last season, they lacked big-play production. With the addition of Julio Jones and likely more passing, that could change abruptly. But the Bears' defense is loaded with good tacklers and overall, the Bears do an excellent job of keeping the action in front of them, which forces teams to sustain long drives.

2. Get Peppers blocked: Julius Peppers is one of the best defensive ends in the NFL right now. And he is a nightmare to get blocked against the run, but especially in the passing game. Chicago will line Peppers up on either the right or left side, but more often than not, he will do battle with Sam Baker, a very average left tackle. Atlanta will have to give Baker help with Peppers, which could limit its options at receiver.

3. Feed the Great White: Jones is an intriguing rookie wide receiver, but Roddy White is among the top wide receivers in the league today. Matt Ryan will go to him early and often, as he did so frequently and effectively last season. Expect the Bears to counter this outside pair by playing a lot of Cover 2 and being physical in getting the wideouts to the ground after the catch.

4. Rattle Cutler: Jay Cutler has as much ability as any quarterback in the league. While his decision-making and composure improved dramatically last season, he still has a lot of gambler to his game. The Falcons look to be an improved pass-rushing defense from a year ago. Although it isn't commonly known, Atlanta is a very heavy zone-blitzing defense. Cutler will have to be very aware of this fact.

5. Matchup to watch: Falcons offensive line vs. Bears defensive line: As stated above, Peppers will be a big problem for Atlanta's offensive. Chicago's interior defensive line is not as heralded as Peppers, but it is an active group with excellent depth. It should provide a great test for the Falcons' solid all-around offensive line in both phases of the game.

6. Win on third down: Ryan was exceptional on third down last season. But if Chicago can stymie Michael Turner and the Falcons' ground attack on early downs, the Bears might be able to get Ryan uncomfortable on third-and-long situations. In an early season contest like this one where conditioning could be an issue, getting off the field and disallowing long drives is especially important to a defense.

7. Protect Cutler: Chicago's offensive line is among the worst in the league. And the Bears really are not particularly strong at any of their five starting offensive line positions. Meanwhile, Atlanta only had 31 sacks in 2010, but the addition of Ray Edwards opposite pass-rusher extraordinaire John Abraham should make protection against the Falcons much more challenging. Also, led by Jonathan Babineaux, Atlanta could provide excellent interior rush. If the Falcons do not have to blitz to get to Cutler, the Bears' passing games will be compromised. Cutler moves very well, but his big men are outmanned in Week 1.

8. Lean on Forte: Matt Forte is a very solid all-around running back. With pass protection being a possible issue, utilizing Forte on dump-off passes and designed short routes makes a lot of sense. But the Bears also need to get something going on the ground with Forte, their best offensive player. Atlanta's defense was gashed for a 4.6 yard-per-carry average last year. The Falcons need to do much better than that or they will have a difficult time getting Chicago into third-and-long situations.

9. Stifle the run: The Bears are very difficult to run on. While the Falcons are likely to become more pass-oriented on offense, they still will stick with their roots, which is a power running game led by Turner. But also keep an eye on Jacquizz Rodgers, whose skill set is much different than Turner's.

10. Matchup to watch: Bears RT Gabe Carimi vs. Falcons LDE Ray Edwards: There is a lot to get excited about with these two new additions to their respective teams. Carimi, a better run blocker than in protection, looks like the prototypical right tackle. But his first regular-season opponent will not be an easy one. Edwards plays the run and pass very well. Both newcomers should be very eager to impress their new teammates.


Atlanta: 28

Chicago: 10

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Man I am pumped. I like our chances against that Bear's O-line. We have Babs, Jerry, Abe, and Edwards, who can all get pressure. And we have solid back-ups in Beerman and Peters. I think the lines on each team will decide the game. Both of our lines are better than theirs IMO. Outside of Peppers I am not worried about anyone on their line.

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I always post this every week, this guy knows what he's talking about, he predicts some craziest upsets and gets them right. He's predicting the Saints to lose to Green Bay, Tampa Bay to lose to Detroit, and here's the best, Philly to lose to St. Louis.

I agree with everyone of these predictions.

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Only thing I don't agree with Chicago having better RBs.

Michael Turner vs Matt Forte: Push

Turner runs better, Forte catches better. Both can be game changers, but often disappear. Forte is more versitle, but finds the endzone much less than Turner.

Jason Snelling vs Marion Barber: Push

Barber has slightly more power, Snelling is slightly better at catching passes. Neither are game changers.

Kahlil Bell vs Quizz Rodgers: Push

Both are virtually rookies. Not enoguh information on either to make comparisons.

If anything, are ground games are about equal.

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WOW! Philly to lose to St. Louis!!??? :rolleyes:

I think Philly loses to STL also -- NOT hoping they lose... just a feeling. But as for the ATL-CHI score, 28-10 in favor of the birds sounds about right to me.

Our defense suffocates Cutler and the Bears' offense and all of our offensive weapons keeps their defense scrambling, reactionary, passive and on their heels.

Edited by Kung-Pow
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Harry Douglas will have a big game..if we can get even a respectable running game going this came might be a blowout

My thoughts exactly that's why he is key for our offense this season. It would definitely eliminate the 8-men in the box look from defenses and allow one on one coverage on the outside. Then TG should be able to eat good in the middle of the field.

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