Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons
Date and Time: Sunday, 10/12/14 at 4:25pm on FOX
Game Line: Atlanta Falcons -3 (from WagerWeb)
Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons Sunday NFL Football Analysis: Devin Hester made his mark as one of the greatest return men in the history of the NFL during eight seasons with the Chicago Bears but he is definitely a more complete player in his one season with the Atlanta Falcons. Hester faces his former team for the first time Sunday when the visiting Bears and Falcons each try to avoid a third consecutive defeat. Hester recorded all but one of his NFL-record 20 return touchdowns with Chicago (2-3). He became the first player to take the opening kickoff of a Super Bowl back for a TD and also returned a missed field goal 108 yards for a score while with the Bears. Many former Chicago teammates sent their congratulations when he set the league record with a 62-yard punt return for a TD in a 56-14 rout of former Bears coach Lovie Smith’s Buccaneers on Sept. 18. Trying to get the ball in Hester’s hands as much as possible, the Bears began using him as a receiver in 2007. He recorded 148 receptions and 10 touchdowns from 2008-10, but after catching 49 balls the next two seasons, Hester asked to be used only on special teams in 2013. While special teams could play a key role in this matchup, both teams likely need a complete effort to bounce back from blowing double digit leads in their previous contests. Atlanta was leading the New York Giants 20-10 in the third quarter before allowing 20 unanswered points to lose 30-20. Matt Ryan threw for 316 yards with a TD and an INT, but the Falcons went 2 for 13 on third down, including 1 for 8 in the second half. Vetran Steven Jackson is averaging 3.8 yards per carry and hasn’t rushed for more than 54 yards this season. Though the Bears held Green Bay and Carolina to a combined 146 rushing yards the last two weeks, they yielded six TDs through the air in those games and have given up 266.3 passing yards per contest in the past four, which plays right into what Atlanta wants to do offensively. Jay Cutler has thrown four TDs and one INT while posting a 129.7 passer rating in the first half over the last two weeks. However, he has three picks, no touchdowns and a 44.0 rating in the final two quarters of those contests. There will be no shortage of points in this contest as both pass defenses are among the leagues worst, but Chicago has Matt Forte running the ball and that strength at running back will be the difference maker in this one.
Sunday NFL Week 6 Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons Free Picks: Chicago Bears +3 and under 54
Chicago Bears at Atlanta Falcons Game Prediction: 27-24 Bears
What to expect in this Week 6 NFL Football match up: The Chicago Bears will surprise everyone when they come out running the football early in this game. In an effort to soften up the Atlanta defense and keep Matt Ryan and company on the sideline, Forte will have 20 attempts in the first half which will open things up for Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jefferey in the second half. If Cutler can keep the turnovers to a minimum they’re stronger running the ball and on defense and should get a big road win in Atlanta this weekend.