Chicago Bears vs. Atlanta Falcons: 5 Keys to Victory
By Jesse Tamayo
What will be the keys to a Chicago Bears victory over the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons? How can a 3-13 team from a year ago pull off the week one upset? Here are 5 keys to a Chicago Bears victory.
Finally, the NFL season is upon us and now we can get down to business. It has been a long offseason but at least it was exciting with the drafting of a possible franchise QB for the Chicago Bears. After witnessing the Chiefs dismantle the Superbowl Champion Patriots it should give everyone hope that this might be their year. And so it begins…
Mike Glennon must be at least average.
The Chicago Bears need Glennon to be more than a bus driver like Kyle Orton or Brian Hoyer were during their Bears tenure. He does not need to be the next Matt Ryan either. If Glennon can get through this game with about an 85 passer rating then the Bears will be looking good. In context Alex Smith had a 148.6 passer rating while Tom Brady had a 70. Glennon had this to say about his approach.
"“Just be patient, take the defense gives us and score more points than them. That’s our job as an offense is to score more points than the opponent and we know that they have a really good offense and we’re going to have to score a lot of points.”"
Can they do it remains the question? It can’t be much worse than last year.
2. The Running Game must be great.
Let’s face it the Falcons bring a very powerful offense to town with them. One of the best things the Bears can do to win this game is keep the ball out of the hands of Matt Ryan and company. The less chances the Falcons have to score the better it will be for the Bears. There is absolutely no way the Bears can win in a shootout. Look for the Bears to pound the rock with two tight end sets most of the afternoon.
3. The Front Seven needs to Pressure Matt Ryan.
Most of the preseason there was talk about how the Chicago Bears could have one of the best front sevens in the league. Now is the time to have their debut and wreck as much havoc as they can. Its no secret that most quarterbacks struggle when pressured in the pocket and Matt Ryan is no different. Last year his completion total went from 75% with no pressure to 56% under pressure. If the Bear don’t get some pressure on him it will be pitch and catch all day long and the Bears will get blown out.
The Receivers need to make Glennon’s job easy.
Look, we don’t have a Julio Jones on the roster. Even before Cameron Meredith went down with a season ending injury the Bears receiving corps was average at best. One publication ranked them as the second worst receiving corps in the league. I am not so sure about that. I believe that a good QB can make his receivers even better. (See point 1.) I know for sure the roster is better on paper this year than it was last year. (Does Alshon “I miss a lot of games” Jeffery even count). Regardless, the receivers need to step up and take pressure off the running game and Mike Glennon.
Capitalize on the Mistakes of the Falcons.
The Chicago Bears were absolutely pitiful at creating turnovers last year. A lot of effort went into correcting those mistakes by adding talent via free agency (Quintin Demps, Prince Amukamara, and Marcus Cooper) and the draft (Eddie Jackson). The idea was to get playmakers on the roster. Hopefully they have done that. But their will be no easing into action. Matt Ryan threw 38 TD’s last season with a gimpy Julio Jones. Now Jones is healthy and that could spell very bad news for a revamped and untested secondary.
Next: 5 things to watch in week one
Regardless how everything unfolds the Bears have to execute when on offense and get the Falcons off the field on third downs. Just those two things can make a huge difference in the game. For what its worth the Falcons offense looked horrible in the third preseason game. Maybe that Superbowl hangover is real. We are about to find out.