NFL Football Betting Preview
Chicago Bears (3-1) at Atlanta Falcons (3-1)
Sunday October 18th, 8:30PM Eastern
Betus.com betting line – Atlanta -3 ½, 45 ½ O/U
The Georgia Dome will host a featured battle between two outstanding quarterbacks this Sunday night when Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears meet up with Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons. The Bears are coming off a bye week, but were solid in their last outing in a 48-24 thrashing over the Lions in week 4. The Bears have won 3 straight games since their opening loss to Green Bay and the offense is starting to turn the corner. The Falcons are also 3-1 on the season and are coming off a huge blowout over the 49ers who had been playing well in a 45-10 embarrassment. The Falcons only loss this season fell to the hands of the Patriots, but they have played well for the most part. Atlanta also plays very well at home winning the last 10 of 11 games inside the Georgia Dome and this would be an important test among the NFC scale this Sunday night.
Sunday night’s match-up features two offenses that are averaging 26 points per game. The Bears scored just 32 points in their first two contests, but have picked up the pace in recent weeks scoring 73 points over some weaker defenses. However, the offense is improving and running back Matt Forte is coming off a solid performance against Detroit carrying the ball 10 times for 122 yards. Still, the Bears rush offense ranks 27th in the NFL with only 92 yards per game. The pass offense led by Cutler has been the main success in moving the chains.
After a pitiful opening performance that included 4 interceptions, Cutler has rallied back in the last 3 games throwing 6 touchdowns and just interception. Cutler has completed over 70% in that stretch as well and the entire offense is slowly but surely getting better each week. Even with the improving offense, the real strength remains on the defensive side of the ball. The Bears is allowing only 319 yards per game as the 5th best overall defense in the league, but they may be even better. The defensive front is very solid and they get to the quarterback well hence the 14 sacks on the season. Those guys will make all the difference this Sunday night. If they can keep pressure on Ryan it will keep the offense at bay, but if those same guys can stop Falcons tailback Michael Turner it will really give the Bears the edge.
Turner has been possibly more important to the Falcons offensive success than Ryan or at least at times. Ryan has some lethal threats to target in Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez, but Turner’s legs have opened up those holes in the passing game. Turner ranked 2nd in the NFL last season behind Adrian Peterson with 1,699 rushing yards, but currently is not on track to repeat those types of numbers. However, Turner is still being effective and he will receive a lot of carries this week with some time off to get replenished. The Falcons are at their best when Turner is running the ball well.
Ryan of course has not disappointed any this season after the huge rookie campaign. Ryan is completing 67% on the season while throwing 7 touchdowns and 2 picks. The Falcons quarterback is coming off a season high 329 passing yards in last week’s routing over the 49ers and looks to remain hot. After a terrible start, Falcons WR Roddy White finally got back on track last week in a big way. White had just 119 yards through the first 3 games, but posted 210 yards in 8 catches last week against San Francisco. White is huge to the Falcons offense. The reason is he is the number 1 true wide out on the outside considering Gonzalez is target number 2 from the tight end position. White landed a huge contract after 1,382 yards last season and the Falcons offense must have him play well for the passing game to be at its best.
Pick – Under 45 ½