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David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 6
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
DAL
Monday
MIA
SF
updated*
IND

Prediction: CHI 16, ATL 24

This is the late game on Sunday and the Bears are coming off their bye week after three straight wins including beating the Steelers. The Falcons are fresh off their complete domination over the 49ers in San Francisco and have "kicked it up a notch" for at least one week.This should be a close game but the Falcons always play tougher at home and the Bears have been less impressive away from Chicago.

The Falcons won 22-20 when the Bears visited Atlanta last season during week six.

Chicago Bears (3-1)
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @GB 15-21 +4 46
2 PIT 17-14 +3 37.5
3 @SEA 25-19 -2 37
4 DET 48-24 -10.5 38.5
5 BYE - - -
6 @ATL - +3 46
7 @CIN - - -
8 CLE - - -
9 ARI - - -
10 @SF - - -
11 PHI - - -
12 @MIN - - -
13 STL - - -
14 GB - - -
15 @BAL - - -
16 MIN - - -
17 @DET - - -
CHI at ATL Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler     270,1
RB Matt Forte 60 30  
TE Greg Olsen   40,1  
WR Devin Hester   70  
WR Earl Bennett   40  
WR Johnny Knox   70  
PK Robbie Gould 3 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Bears come off their bye week with a 3-1 record that included beating the World Champion Steelers but losing the season opener in Green Bay. Losing Brian Urlacher for the year drops the defense a notch and the rushing game of Forte is well off of last season's results but as hoped, the addition of Jay Cutler has made a major difference. Road games the next two weeks won't be easy but the rest of the schedule is no worse than last year. The rushing of Forte needs to improve if only because later season games could be bad weather and reduce the advantage that Cutler's passing has brought so far.

Quarterback: Through the first four games, Jay Cutler has thrown for at least one score every week and remained about 240 yards other than the Lions game where Forte finally shouldered the load. Notable too is that Cutler has thrown for at least two scores per game since week one and only had one interception in those last three games. It is a small sample so far, but his best two efforts came in the two previous road games when the rushing attack was ineffective.

Kyle Orton passed for 286 yards and one score in Atlanta last year.

The Falcons have only allowed three passing touchdowns this year and never more than one per opponent. Both Delhomme and Brady got around 300 passing yards but only once did either score. That would be a step down for Cutler who is getting good with multiple scores but on the road go with the trend of the defense.

Running Backs: After three mediocre weeks, Matt Forte finally answered the bell and produced a game worthy of the high draft pick fantasy owners had spent in acquiring him. With the Lions visiting, Forte peeled off 121 yards and a touchdown on just 12 carries and added two catches for 19 yards. Granted - it was the Lions visiting. The previous three games only saw Forte rushing for a combined 150 yards on 59 carries for an average of just 2.5 yards per carry. Forte has a few upcoming games where he should post good numbers but he's not producing every week as he did in 2008. His total of 13 catches puts him on a respectable pace for 52 catches this year.

Forte gained 76 yards on 20 carries and scored once in Atlanta as a rookie. He added 34 yards on five receptions.

Forte faces a defense that had allowed moderate rushing by most opponents but there is nothing even average about Forte so far this year. Safest bet is to expect just another ho-hum game again this week from Forte.

Wide Receivers: The addition of Cutler has brought all new life to these wideouts and Devin Hester is working on a career best season with two scores and 187 yards through the first three weeks. Hester faced his best matchup of the year with the Lions coming to town in week four but he suffered a sprained neck and left after just one inconsequential catch. He is expected back this week and has already had some practice.

Earl Bennett has been a factor in the two previous road games with 66 and 80 yards in those games but he's been almost unused in the two home matchups. Johnny Knox had two good games to open the year and has scored twice but the last two weeks have featured minimal yardage.

Hester led all Bears receivers when he had six catches for 87 yards in Atlanta last season.

The Falcons secondary has allowed two big games to the two best wideouts they have faced - Randy Moss and Steve Smith of Carolina. That should favor Hester but the Falcons have not allowed any wideout to score so far this year.

Tight Ends: The good news is that Greg Olsen has scored in the last two games but he has almost no other role as a receiver and has only managed 44 yards at most in a game. Kellen Davis has also scored twice but is not used every game. The Bears management keeps talking about getting Olsen more involved but so far it just has not happened.

The Bears tight ends combined for eight receptions and 91 yards in Atlanta last year.

Olsen is in a decent spot to get a score this week since the Falcons are weak against tight ends. The only two passing scores allowed this season went to tight ends.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 10 27 15 5 11 7
Preventing Fantasy Points    ATL 10 23 6 25 20 3


Atlanta Falcons (3-1)
Homefield: Georgia Dome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 MIA 19-7 -4 43.5
2 CAR 28-20 -6 43
3 @NE 10-26 +4 44.5
4 BYE -    
5 @SF 45-10 +2.5 41
6 CHI - -3 46
7 @DAL - - -
8 @NO - - -
9 WAS - - -
10 @CAR - - -
11 @NYG - - -
12 TB - - -
13 PHI - - -
14 NO - - -
15 @NYJ - - -
16 BUF - - -
17 @TB - - -
ATL vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Ryan     250,2
RB Michael Turner 80,1    
TE Tony Gonzalez   70,1  
WR Michael Jenkins   40  
WR Roddy White   90,1  
WR Marty Booker   20  
PK Jason Elam 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Falcons certainly made a statement last week when they throttled the 49ers in their stadium. That made some amends for the loss to the Patriots and keeps the Falcons within one game of the Saints in the NFC South. The schedule is getting tougher now with a trip through the NFC East looming but as of last week, these Falcons looked like they may be up to the task.

Quarterback: Matt Ryan comes off his first 300 yard game of the year with 329 yards and two scores in San Francisco last week. His two previous home games also had multiple scores and at least 220 yards which bodes well this week.

Ryan passed for 301 yards and one touchdown against the visiting Bears last year.

The Bears have only allowed one scoring pass per opponent so far this year but the Lions passed for 350 yards against them in the last road game. Like Ryan to continue his multi-TD ways and have at least decent yardage.

Running Backs: Michael Turner may not have the yardage of 2008, but at least he is getting the scoring every week. He had a season high three touchdowns in normally tough San Francisco and scored once in the two previous games. His yardage had waned in road games until last week but playing at home should help regardless. Jerious Norwood returned last week and even he had 44 yards on 12 carries but mostly at the end of the lopsided win.

Turner only gained 54 yards on 25 carries versus the Bears last season.

The Bears have not allowed a 100 yard rusher yet though they have come close and even Kevin Smith scored twice against them in the most recent road game. Look for moderate yardage here as a lock with a chance for more but Turner should manage at least one score to ensure he is a worthy start this week.

Wide Receivers: Roddy White made up for a lackluster start to the season when he was unstoppable in San Francisco and had eight receptions for 210 yards and two touchdowns. White had only scored once previously this year and had topped out at 53 yards until last Sunday. Michael Jenkins has never scored nor has any other wideout besides White. With Gonzalez on board, either White has a good game or no wideout has a good game.

White turned in nine receptions for 112 yards and one score against the Bears last year.

Good news again - the Bears secondary has already allowed three players to top 100 yards though only one has scored on them. Expect at least a decent showing by White this week.

Tight Ends: It has been two games now since Tony Gonzalez has had a good week. But that is also the two road games of the Falcons where he had no score and minimal yardage. At home twice, he has scored both times and had over 70 yards in each.

The Bears are average at best against tight ends so expect the home team Gonzo to get a score and turn in good yardage this week.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ATL 13 6 16 11 20 15
Preventing Fantasy Points    CHI 20 18 14 20 21 8

The Huddle
WEEK 6
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Bye Week
DAL
Monday
MIA
SF
IND
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Early Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
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