Thought No.4: The preview of the Chicago Bears vs. Falcons
The storyline entering this contest is Justin Fields could be auditioning for his new team in 2024, and the Atlanta Falcons could be his home. The Falcons is another organization with both the head coach and a quarterback facing an uncertain future this off-season much like the Bears. This could be his last home game for Justin Fields.
There is a reason why his name is linked to the Falcons. Fields is originally from Kennesaw, GA, which is a northern suburb of Atlanta. He also committed to the University of Georgia out of high school before transferring to Ohio State.
The Bears' defense will be much more tested against the Falcons' offense compared to the Cardinals. Rookie running back Bijan Robinson, a teammate of Roschon Johnson at the University of Texas will be hard to tackle when he has the ball both as a runner and a pass catcher. Tackling has been a problem for the Bears' defense this season, and they can't afford to do that against Robinson or he will have a big day.
But the Falcons' head coach Arthur Smith seems to forget his existence and gets criticized for not utilizing him enough. The hope is the defense will do a great job of tackling him while Smith forgets his existence.
Their quarterback is veteran backup Tayler Heinicke, who took over from much-maligned incumbent Desmond Ridder last week against the Indianapolis Colts. The Bears pass rush must apply pressure against Heinicke and rattle him while also limiting wide receiver Drake London and tight end Kyle Pitts, who like Robinson, gets forgotten by Smith, but he can cause matchup problems with his size and speed.
Since the game will be outdoors and the temperature will be in the 30s this week unlike the balmy 50s last week, the Bears should have an edge. After last week's close call, they need to show that they can dominate for the entire 60 minutes in the last home game for the 2023 season. They should be motivated and show that they are ascending in the right direction.
Prediction: Bears 31-17