Sunday Night Football – Falcons vs. Bears Preview

NFC Power Match-Up

Does it get much bigger than this early in the season? Well, technically the answer could be yes since both teams have a loss on their schedule, but the Falcons and Bears have rebounded from their lone loss. The Bears have won three straight after losing the first game of the season to the Packers, and the Falcons certainly found their stride against one of the best defenses, and upstart teams in the 49ers last week. Both teams stand at 3-1 and really want this one because the Bears have the Bengals, 49ers, Eagles, and Vikings, and the Falcons have the Cowboys, Saints, Giants, and Eagles on the horizon. Add in the element of last year’s well-known, heart-stopping game where Matt Ryan and the Falcons showed some serious moxie in winning the game with 8 seconds left on the clock, and you get the making for a huge battle. As much as it was an amazing experience at the Terror-Dome for the Falcons and our fans, it was also a pretty bitter pill for the Bears and their fans. Revenge may not be the first order of the day, but it surely is in the back of several coaches and players minds. One more element is Jay Cutler returning with a different team after single-handedly leading his old team the Broncos down the field to win the game (check out DOL’s new blog), handing the Falcons their only home loss. This one has all the makings for a classic powerhouse, knock-down, drag-out streetfight in the Dome on the national stage of Sunday Night Football. Neither team can afford a loss, at least while their respective rivals, Vikings in the NFC North and Saints in the NFC South, haven’t lost a game to date. A look at the match-up between two teams hoping to make a statement in the extremely crowded NFC:

Falcons Defense vs. Bears Offense

NFL Rank

Falcons Defense (Rushing – 24th, Passing – 21st, Total – 20th, Points – 4th)

Bears Offense (Rushing – 27th, Passing – 19th, Points – 7th)

Reshuffled, Resurgent D-Line vs. Bears O-Line

DE – John Abraham vs. LT – Orlando Pace

DT – Jonathan Babineaux vs. LG – Frank Omiyale

DT – Jamaal Anderson? vs. C-Olin Kreutz/RG – Roberto Garza

DE – Kroy Biermann vs. RT – Chris Williams

After being roundly criticized and disparaged by fans and media types, John Abraham sent a strong message to his line mates over the bye week, heading out to San Francisco, “Man Up!” And they certainly took note, registering 3 sacks in one game, after failing to notch one in the last two games. The D-Line set the tone for the entire game, stuffing the run and putting pressure on Shaun Hill all day, refusing to let him get comfortable in the pocket. The line’s excellent play also allowed the linebackers, defensive backs, and play-calling to be much more aggressive, which certainly helped. The big news on Jamaal Anderson moving inside to D-Tackle was met with rave reviews as he had one of the better games of his career, which also allowed him to be on the field with Abraham, Babineaux, and Biermann all at the same time. The resulting product worked very well. Although the defensive line is coming off a huge week and the Bears line isn’t what it used to be, Roberto Garza and Orlando Pace are wily vets who have both been to Pro-Bowls and know how to play the game. Kreutz is solid at center, and Omiyale is good at guard as well. Although Biermann won’t have a cakewalk with Williams, he has faced tougher tackles to date. Edge – Birds

Soul of the Defense vs. Bears Backs and Tight Ends

SLB – Stephen Nicholas vs. TE – Greg Olsen

MLB – Curtis Lofton vs. FB – Jason McKie

WLB – Mike Peterson vs. RB – Matt Forte

The complete heart and soul of the defense has been the linebackers for the Falcons so far this season. Even though the defensive line and secondary have had their ups and downs, the linebackers have been pretty rock solid in every game they’ve played. Curtis Lofton is tied for 6th in the NFL with 47 total tackles. Peterson has been a definitive upgrade at weakside linebacker in terms of athletic ability and striking capacity. Nicholas hasn’t had a ton of statistics, but has played much better in pass coverage and been flying all over the field. Matt Forte is quickly becoming one of the best young running backs in the league and has certainly seemed to hit his stride again in the run game after a couple of slow outings. Even though Greg Olsen is no Tony Gonzalez, he is a great red-zone threat who has two touchdowns. The Bears look to pound the rock early and often, but the Falcons linebackers have been playing at a very high level. Edge – Birds

Falcons Improved Secondary vs. Cutler and Bears WRs

CB – Brian Williams vs. WR – Devin Hester

CB – Chris Houston vs. WR – Earl Bennett

Nickel – Brent Grimes vs. Slot – Johnny Knox

SS – Erik Coleman vs. TE – Greg Olsen

FS – Thomas DeCoud vs. QB – Jay Cutler

The Falcons highly criticized secondary got off the mat last week and had an excellent game against the 49ers wide receivers, Shaun Hill, and Vernon Davis. Although, the Niners receiving threats strike fear in no one, they still played their parts and played aggressive and tough when the ball was in the air. Erik Coleman kept a lid on Vernon Davis who was on a serious hot streak and corners Williams, Grimes, and Houston had a very productive day in the defensive backfield. The Bears bring a very young receiving corps into the Terror-Dome on Sunday night, but extremely talented and athletic. Jay Cutler’s new arsenal may not be quite as good as his WR corps in Denver, but they bring some of the most pure speed in the NFL. Cutler drove his former team down the field in the raucous Dome last year for the game-winning drive, giving the Birds their only loss at home. Save the last second heroics, Kyle Orton did everything needed last year to beat the Falcons with a much less talented receiving corps. Even though the Falcons secondary have played great in two out of four games, the Bears get a slight nod due to Cutler’s performance in the Dome last year. Edge – Forest Dwellers

Falcons Offense vs. Bears Defense

Falcons Offense (Rushing – 15th, Passing – 14th, Total – 13th, Points – 9th)

Bears Defense (Rushing – 9th, Passing – 20th, Total – 13th, Points – 13th)

The Burn Unit vs. Bears D-Line

LT – Sam Baker vs. DE – Adewale Ogunleye

LG – Justin Blalock vs. DT – Anthony Adams

C – Todd McClure/RG – Harvey Dahl vs. DT – Tommie Harris

RT – Tyson Clabo vs. DE – Alex Brown

Much like their defensive counterparts, the Falcons offensive line took the criticism about their inability to run the ball and all the talk about the greatest defense in the NFL very personally. The Burn Unit got back to what they do best against the 49ers, playing tough, hard-nosed football with an edge. Baker, Blalock, McClure, Dahl, and Clabo got the nasty mentality back and imposed their will the way they did last season leading Turner to the Pro-Bowl and the second leading rushing offense in the NFL. They run up against one of the better defensive lines they’ll see all season in Pro-Bowlers Adewale Ogunleye and Tommie Harris, with Alex Brown being a solid D-End anchoring the other side. As with pretty much all games, this one will definitely be won in the trenches and the Burn Unit has to wear down this tough D-Line. Too tough to call this one. Edge – Tie

Burner, Norwood, and Gonzo vs. Bears Linebackers

TE – Tony Gonzalez vs. SLB – Lance Briggs

FB – Jason Snelling vs. MLB – Hunter Hillenmeyer

RB – Michael Turner vs. WLB – Pisa Tinoisamoa

Michael Turner got going in a big way with almost 100 yards, 3 touchdowns and Norwood chipped another near 50 yards rushing, with most everything back in order. The Burn Unit helped blow some bigger holes and the vertical passing game was clicking on all cylinders, but Turner and Norwood also deserve some serious credit for hitting the holes hard and running with purpose. Having the combination of Turner’s power and Norwood’s speed was surely a big help as well. The Falcons running backs will have to get going early and often to produce the same momentum and result that occurred in San Francisco last week. The big loss of Brian Urlacher has expectedly had an effect on the Bears linebacking corps, but not quite as big as one might think. Even though the Bears lost their leader of the defense and team and general, they still have Lance Briggs who has made the Pro-Bowl four years running. Hillenmeyer has shown to be a solid fill-in for Urlacher, but the real match-up may come down to Tinoisamoa and how well he plays in the run game and dropping into coverage. The battle of Tony Gonzalez and Lance Briggs/SS Kevin Payne may be a huge battle that could decided the game. The Patriots and Niners seemed intent on stopping Gonzalez, which opened up huge days for Jenkins against the Pats, and White/Turner against the Niners. If Urlacher’s in the line-up, this one may be closer. Edge – Birds

Matty Ice, Superstar Roddy, & WRs vs. Bears Secondary

WR – Roddy White vs. CB – Charles Tillman

WR – Michael Jenkins vs. CB – Nathan Vasher

Slot – Marty Booker vs. Nickel – Craig Steltz?

TE – Tony Gonzalez vs. SS – Kevin Payne

QB – Matt Ryan vs. FS – Danieal Manning

Many fans wanted the Falcons to break out the vertical passing attack, and they delivered with an emphatic blast. Ryan threw for a career high 329 yards, two touchdowns, and added a rushing td as well. Roddy White had a game for the books, going over 200 yards receiving with two touchdowns, including an amazing 90 yard touchdown reception, in which he raced 80 yards like he was at a track meet. Matt Ryan came out looking sharp as usual, but the running game helped to highlight the aerial attack. Although White and Ryan looked particularly on their game, it also seemed that Coach Mularkey opened up the playbook a little more. The offensive passing attack also got Gonzalez involved early in the game. Ryan spread the ball around extremely well, getting the ball to White, Gonzalez, Finneran, Jenkins, and Justin Peelle. The passing attack hit on all cylinders and gave the fans a glimpse of the vast potential in the air assault. The Falcons draw another tough match-up in one of the better cornerback tandems in Pro-Bowler Nathan Vasher and Charles Tillman. Daniel Manning and Kevin Payne may not be the Super Bowl contending safety combination of a couple years ago, but they definitely have excellent skills and ability. This would be a toss-up, but Tony Gonzalez barely puts this one in the Birds column. Edge – Barely Birds

Huge NFC Powerhouse Game

Although both teams have a notch in the loss column, it is certainly easy to argue that this is a momentous game for both teams. A win in this one on a national stage would go a long way towards trying to establish some force in a very tough NFC. If either team wants to go to the playoffs, they will have to win games like this one. Bright lights, big city, last second electricity from last year, and on a national stage: it doesn’t get much better than this! If you’re headed -down to the Terror-Dome, get down there early, get revved up and ready to get loud!

Your Turn

-Who takes the Falcons-Bears game?

-Huge game or too early in the season?

-Cutler work his magic again or secondary steps up again?

-Another multiple sack day for Falcons D-Line or one-time shot?

-Burn Unit enforce their will again or Bears D-Line too tough?

-Roddy White and WRs huge day or one of the better cornerback tandems too much?

-Matt Ryan’s progression too much for Bears or a slight step back?

-How raucous and rockin’ will Terror-Dome be?

GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Your Key Match-Up to the Game?

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617 comments Add your comment

Sarah B

October 15th, 2009
10:51 pm

Here it time to go first again.

Dawson Devitt (D3)

October 15th, 2009
10:55 pm

Nice job Sarah, :eek:


October 15th, 2009
10:56 pm

Cutler’s been sacked 8 times this year.

I hadn’t payed much attention to their O-Line vs our D-Line matchup up until now. I’m really liking some of those matchups.

Maybe we rush 4 successfully this week?


October 15th, 2009
11:00 pm


October 15th, 2009
11:01 pm

Do you know if they were coverage sacks or the bull rush?


October 15th, 2009
11:17 pm

Honestly can’t tell you box. Not sure.

I originally thought that we’d implement a similar gameplan to what we saw last week vs. the Bears, but after looking at these D-Line vs O-Line matchups that D3 just posted, I wouldn’t be surprised if we came out rushing four. I know BVG will pick his spots and send heat occasionally. I’m just hoping he mixes it up as well as he did last week.

You know Biermann recorded one sack last week at San Fran when we only rushed 3 lineman. It was at on a critical third down when they were inside near our 40 I believe. That’s pretty crazy. JA98 faked his rush and dropped back into coverage and then Biermann stunted into the middle and came clean into Shaun Hill. Mixing things up like that just to confuse those O-Linemen and Cutler should help rattle Cutler.


October 15th, 2009
11:20 pm

I do worry about Cutler on our secondary. I would like to see our secondary “man up” two consecutive weeks before I am ready to give them my blessing.


October 15th, 2009
11:22 pm

I had to rewind when I saw JA98 drop into coverage. I thought that I was having 80’s flashbacks.


October 15th, 2009
11:30 pm


October 15th, 2009
11:48 pm

Interseting development. I don’t know if it will be game changing, though. Or at least I hope not.

Joe Joe

October 15th, 2009
11:50 pm

I will say the same thing i did last week. the key is to put pressure in the crybaby’s face. Knock him to the turf, force Brett Favre Jr into some bad throws. Thatll get Matty some short fields, and put the nail in the coffin for the bears defense. Make cutler eat turf.

Sarah B

October 15th, 2009
11:52 pm

Joe Joe that works for me!

Sarah B

October 16th, 2009
12:04 am

Boxcar did you get the gist of how it works?


October 16th, 2009
12:10 am

Yes. I just don’t know about all of the pluses and minuses in the columns concerning the players on the rosters.

Sarah B

October 16th, 2009
12:13 am

Kind of like odds on how they will do that week.


October 16th, 2009
12:27 am

I am just naive as heck concerning the FFL. Sent you another note.

Sarah B

October 16th, 2009
12:44 am

Blog monster is out…

Sarah B

October 16th, 2009
12:46 am

Boxcar the computer doesn’t like Sanchez this week for some reason. But upon second look it Loves Jason Campbell so I switched to him. It will go thru Sunday AM at 3:00.

Sarah B

October 16th, 2009
12:48 am

Did you see the projected points column? Also click Match Up at the top. Go to quick box score and it gives you the match up points. I’m losing. But that doesn’t always mean anything. Someone can can always go crazy for one week.


October 16th, 2009
1:25 am

I still need a lot of studying. Crashing now. We had a lay off in our group today. Lost seven, but not me. I do have to fill in for a supervisor who was part of the RIF in the morning, though. I’ll try to do more research in between my school work, not that it would do any good.


October 16th, 2009
4:10 am

Terrific work as always D3. It appears from your breakdown that the Falcons have a slight edge which I agree with. If our secondary holds up we shouldn’t need a last minute miracle to win this one.


October 16th, 2009
6:02 am

Look for Marty booker and Jenkins to have solid games. Also Michael Turner will have his best game to date. Thomas Decoud will finally get talked about on a national stage. I think Mike Peterson and Brian Williams play very well together. The big difference will be our O line and Roddy White and J Norwood with the big play. GO FALCONS!!!!


October 16th, 2009
6:37 am

D3, Good job as usual.

This will be a tough physical game that will be won in the trenches.
The Falcons should come home playing with a lot of emotion, riding on the momentum of the blowout by the bay.

The backbone of the Falcons offense (the O-line) is playing at a very high level, that should allow for Turner, Snelling and Norwood to be effective enough on the ground to set up play action and find production in the vertical game.
It`s my guess, Veron Haynes will be activated and see time at FB.
That is somewhat of a fall off from Ovie but hopefully it will not effect too much?

On defence, the 1st order of the night is, slow Matt Forte, keep Cutler from having too many 2nd/3rd and short situations.
3rd down efficiency is critical for our D to get off the field.
Win the time of possession and field position battle and win the game.

The final key is Special Teams.
The Bears have excellent special teams play.
The Falcons kicking team will have to be up to at least par to avoid any game changing big plays to the Bears fine units.


October 16th, 2009
6:39 am

D3, great post, love the forest dwellers. Hope they contain Forte, even though I’m starting him. I’ll gladly trade a ffl loss for a falcons win, but no need: Falcons bust out on the national scene and dominate this game. Our D will punish crybaby (aka cutler) early and all game long. Crybaby will get lucky a couple of times (he loves houston) but our O is finding their groove, another 40+ game!


October 16th, 2009
7:34 am

Gotta hit Cutler…hit him as many times as possible. Any opportunity to hurry him, hit him, sack him will be critical. To protect the secondary, the birds have to pound Cutler into the turf a couple of times. Take a personal foul if you have to…but get him worried early on.


October 16th, 2009
9:15 am

Morning cage
Falcons will show us this week if they can be in the running for the playoffs.They got to win this game the next two games are on the road and they will probably lose one of them.So a win here is very crustal for there season win lose record. I think they know how impotent the game is also.They should be head strong going in to this game after the big win over the niners .But they must stay focused .Its a prime time game so it might make some nerves rattle. I ,m ready to see this one .IT might be the one tho that makes or breaks our birds.Got to love our chances here at home tho we win this one ,birds28 -bears 17

Great topic D3



October 16th, 2009
9:45 am

It will be a good game. It will come down to line play and special teams.
Falcons D ranked 25th in sacks, I do not see them putting much pressure on Cutler. I think Cutler will have big day. Advantage Bears.
Both the Bears D-Line and the Falcons O-Line have been playing very well. Advantage even.
Many consider the Bears special teams to be the best in the league and I would agree with them. Advantage Bears.

Unca' Bob

October 16th, 2009
10:00 am

Jerious Norwood’s 85-yard kick return last year scarred Bears special teams. “Special teams gave up some big returns and couldn’t get our return game going,” LB Jamar Williams said. “Not just based on last year but also this year, they’re a great special teams unit and we’re doing really well right now, so it’s going to be a good battle.”


October 16th, 2009
10:04 am

Does anyone know where I can find information on what uniform combination the Falcons will be going with for this game? Is it a “throw-back” game or are they gonna wear the dumb all-blacks?

slow roller

October 16th, 2009
10:24 am

Does anyone know if Michael Turner’s sprained Thumb is still bad? Or will he continue to fumble and kill drives this season at the most inopportune times?

Is his Thumb healed?


October 16th, 2009
11:35 am

The bears win for one simple reason…..cheaters proof! Time expired on the last pass play last year, and your dirty bird cheaters rewrote the Bears season as a result. They should have been in the playoffs, but because yours is a city of cheaters, the weren’t. How does it feel to root for cheaters? Does that make you cheaters too? See how pissed off I still am a year later? The Bears are going to make the Atlanta Cheaters feel some pain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


October 16th, 2009
12:12 pm

Dawson Devitt didnt look into what he wrote. the bears corners are tillman and bowman.manning is the fs but plays nickle when they go to that defence. steltz doesnt even get into the game!!!! oh and Hillenmeyer is hurt D3 is out of touch and doesnt get the facts right. bear down


October 16th, 2009
12:39 pm

Pete from Austin

October 16th, 2009
12:45 pm

Bears fan here. I am hoping for a great game like last year. The Bears are pretty good but so are the Falcons. I wonder how much discussion there has been in the ATL regarding all the people who wanted the birds to draft glen Dorsey a couple drafts ago. Ryan is one of the up and coming stars in the league. We like our QB quite a bit too. It will be a great match up to see which of the Qbs can control the game. I am worried about Gonzalez, you all should be worried about our D line. third or fourth in the league in sacks with one less game than the teams in front.

John Waynesworld

October 16th, 2009
1:18 pm

Bears Injury Practice Status as of last night:

Hunter Hillenmeyer LB – Rib Did Not Participate
Adrian Peterson RB – Knee – Did Not Participate
Pisa Tinoisamoa LB – Knee – Full Participation
Anthony Adams DT – Toe – Limited Participation
Tommie Harris DT – Knee – Limited Participation
Israel Idonije DT – Knee – Limited Participation

Their D must have had a tough time with the Lions.

True Falcon Fan

October 16th, 2009
1:44 pm

Boohoohoo, Oooohh booohoooo!!! What a candy a*s!! Still whining about last year because your pathetic defense couldn’t stop a first year rookie quarterback from marching down the field. What a joke! Go back home to your momma’s basement, loser!!!


October 16th, 2009
2:06 pm

When you look at the Falcons offense….Its like you are looking at a commodity chart that is pointing upward. The Falcons good coaching staff will allow the offensive upward trend to continue.

Defensively…Bears combo of Cutler and there WRs do not pose matchup problems for the Falcons D. And…with the position switch of JA98 to DT….the run D is much better now.

Mr Cutler….may I introduce you to 2 things……1) The Beer man and 2 The turf

Advantage Falcons. Bears 17 Falcons 27


October 16th, 2009
2:56 pm

The same bloggers on this site each time.

I know how about that.Same people here every time.THATS WHY ITS CALLED THE BIRD CAGE YOU IDIOT .

Now go back to your Barney and friends site.!!!


October 16th, 2009
2:59 pm



October 16th, 2009
3:02 pm


Don’t be upset with this guy.You know kids don’t know better .THATS WHAT YOU ARE ,The Same,A CHILD.I bet his team is the rams.


October 16th, 2009
3:05 pm

What did he say I don’t have speakers on my PC .My doughtier got them last week from me LOL.

John Waynesworld

October 16th, 2009
3:10 pm


October 16th, 2009
3:28 pm


For those without speakers – here are the words:









October 16th, 2009
3:45 pm

Should be a high scoring game…Falcons win 34-30.


October 16th, 2009
3:46 pm

Thats a good one but Chicago has not faced a front line like the birds yet.
Thanks F4Ever .You guys and gals that are going to the game gota bring down the house.I will be home siting back on my bed and every time ya’ll scream I will be right there with you .You may even here me about 35 miles away here in Conyers.




October 16th, 2009
4:01 pm

I’m surprisedtheir rushing game ranks so low in the NFL. D3 – what is their take away? Very low in rushing and passing, but high in scoring???? Maybe playing with a short field a lot?

I’ve said all year, this is a game we MUST have. Just because we beat SF in a MUST WIN doesn’t mean this isn’t a MUST WIN. Lose this and we gotta make it up against a Philly, NYG, or NO team. Bears are good, but I think a bit overrated. No reason we can’t blow them out like we did SF. Play just like last week, and we will easily.

Key to the game… stop the run and run the ball. Do not respect the Bears. Make them respect us!


October 16th, 2009
4:17 pm

BEARSWIN! – Actually time didn’t expire until right after Elam kicked the ball that sent your sorry team home with a loss.

Dawson Devitt (D3)

October 16th, 2009
4:49 pm

Great Best Day of the Work-Week Cagers! What a weekend its setting up to be: absolutely beautiful cool weather, decent slate of college games tomorrow, and an :eek: ENORMOUS NFC Showdown on the national stage in the ATL on Sunday. Hope everyone’s weekend is off to a rockin’ start. To the Birds……….

Wabe – Agreed on the Line match-ups, assuming we have the line come to the play that showed up against the Fins and Niners, not the Panthers and Pats.

Boxcarar – Right in line with you on our secondary. They played lights out on 2 out of 4, so this one will be a good barometer for our blessing.

Joe Joe – Very true. Love to see Cutler lose his mind :cry: like he did against San Diego last year. Welcome to the Bird Cage, BTW.

Ed – Thanks as always my man. On paper we shouldn’t need 8 seconds to beat the Bears, but you never know.

Samuel – Great points. Jenkins has definitely shown that he’s capable when they double cover Roddy and Gonzo. Welcome as well to the Bird Cage. DeCoud has played well, IMO, in the defensive secondary and between him, Coleman, and Moore, we’re set at that position for a while. Glad seeing you in the Cage.

More in a bit…………

Unca' Bob

October 16th, 2009
4:53 pm

To those that comment with all or mostly capital letters,I have not, nor ever will, read your post. Why do you feel the need to scream? Can you not express your feelings in small case?…Just a thought.


October 16th, 2009
5:03 pm

What….? What deference does that make .?

D3 .You gota love this weather it feels like football season now.What do you think the final score will be