Bears at Falcons: Week 3 Game Day at a Glance

Gene Chamberlain

Chicago Bears (2-0) at Atlanta Falcons (0-2)

Kickoff: Sunday, noon central time

TV: FOX (Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake

Radio: WBBM AM-780, 105.9 FM (Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, Mark Grote)

Univision Deportes: AM-1200, 93.5 FM

Sirius: XM/SXM 231 (Streaming 805, 801)

The Line: Falcons by 3 (over/under 47 1/2)

The Series: 28th meeting. Bears lead series 14-13. The Falcons won the last matchup in the 2017 opener, 23-17 at Soldier Field.

At Mercedes-Benz Stadium: The Bears have never played in this stadium, which opened in 2017. They won their last game in Atlanta in 2014 at the Georgia Dome, 27-13 over the Falcons.

The Coaches: Bears coach Matt Nagy is 22-12 in his third season. Falcons coach Dan Quinn is 43-39 in his seventh season.

Last Week: The Bears stopped an attempt at the game-winning pass on the final play for the second straight week to beat the New York Giants 17-13 at Soldier Field after leading 17-0 at halftime. The Falcons had a 20-0 first-quarter lead and led 29-10 at halftime in Dallas but lost to the Cowboys 40-39.

The Quarterbacks: Mitchell Trubisky has a passer rating of 92.7 and is averaging 6.8 yards per pass attempt in his fourth season. He has five TD passes and two interceptions and has been sacked five times. Trubisky has never faced Atlanta.

Falcons 35-year-old quarterback Matt Ryan has started his 13th season with a passer rating of 109.6 and is averaging 8.0 yards per pass attempt. He has six TD passes, one interception and has been sacked three times. Against the Bear Ryan is 3-2 as a starter with five TD passes, four interceptions and a passer rating of 87.7. He hasn't faced them since 2017.

Matching Up: The Bears are 23rd on offense, 29th passing and ninth rushing. They are 16th on defense, 19th passing and 11th rushing.

The Falcons are fourth on offense, second passing and 28th rushing. Atlanta is 31st on defense, 31st passing and ninth rushing.

Key Matchups: 

Bears RCB Kyle Fuller vs. Falcons WR Calvin Ridley

Few receivers can consistently challenge Fuller, but Ridley's rare combination of speed and athletic ability allow him to severely test a cornerback with a spectacular passer completion percentage of 42.9% when targeted (6 of 14) and a phenomenal 28.9 passer rating against when targeted. Fuller has one of the Bears' two interceptions, as well. Ridley has had every bit as impressive a start to his career as Jones. He's tied Jones with 19 TD passes through his first 30 Falcons games. The Falcons can put the 6-foot-1, 190-pound former Georgia receiver all over the formation because of his route-running ability but usually he'll be on the right side. This could change if Jones isn't playing. Ridley has a league-high four touchdown catches already.

Bears S Tashaun Gipson vs. Falcons TE Hayden Hurst

With eight catches, Hurst is on target for his best season after coming over from the Ravens following the departure of Austin Hooper. He's an ideal counter punch to the wide receivers and has both speed and an ability to become an acrobatic for errant tosses. Gipson has struggled so far in his coverage assignments as he adjusts to playing in a new defensive system. Opponents have completed seven of the eight throws targeted at him (87.5%) and he has a passer rating against when targeted of 152.6. It almost makes you want to revisit that decision not to pursue Ha Ha Clinton Dix when they easily could have afforded to keep him.

Bears LG James Daniels vs. Falcons DT Grady Jarrett

Jarrett has been playing strong defense even if the Falcons as a unit haven't been. He had 1 1/2 sacks in the opener with the Seattle Seahawks and plays with intensity and speed for a big man on the line's interior. Jarrett is a 3-technique tackle who can be disruptive to the Bears' new run-blocking schemes before they even develop by getting into the gap and pushing upfield. In the pass rush, he'll explode past blockers in a gap.

Bears WR Allen Robinson vs. Falcons CB Isaiah Oliver

Robinson is coming off one of his worst Bears performances with only three catches and two targets on interceptions, including one which he easily could have prevented. Did some of this have to do with distraction due to his contract negotiations? There's no way to know this but the timing allows for such speculation. Oliver is a get-well-quick invitation. His passer rating against when targeted is 120.3 and he's given up a touchdown pass. Last year he allowed five TD passes on the year and a 113 passer rating against. The Falcons had hoped to have Kendall Sheffield as an option to play the last two weeks but he had a foot injury. It's possible he'd return but what he'd provide isn't clear because he had a 48.9 Pro Football Focus grade over 444 coverage snaps last year as a rookie.

 Bears WR Anthony Miller vs. Falcons DB Darqueze Dennard

Like Robinson, Miller will be attempting to regain the production level he enjoyed in Week 1 after a terrible second game. Miller was blanked and dropped a touchdown pass. Dennard has allowed plenty of catches in his coverage area. Sportradar calls it 14 receptions in 20 targets while Pro Football Focus says 16 in 20. The 16 catches represent the most catches allowed by anyone in the league according to PFF. Possibly the most alarming trend for Dennard is that he has missed on 23% of his tackle attempts, allowing for 73 yards after the catch. Miller should have plenty of opportunities out of the slot whether for the catch and run or to get deep in the secondary.

Injury Report

Bears

Questionable

LB Khalil Mack (knee)

LB Mario Edwards Jr. (glute)   

Falcons 

Out 

S Ricardo Allen (elbow)

CB Kendall Sheffield (foot)

CB A.J. Terrell*

*Placed on Reserve/COVID-19 List

Questionable

 DE Dante Fowler (ankle)

WR Julio Jones (hamstring)

T Kaleb McGary (knee)

DE Takkarist McKinley (groin)

LB Foyesade Oluokun (hamstring)

Of Note: The Bears last week went 9 of 16 on third down conversions a week after going 2 for 11. The nine third-down conversions tied the most under Nagy. ... Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo was given a tryout by the Bears in April 2019 before their massive kicker competition and they did not sign him. He was later signed by Atlanta and is 29 for 32 and 1 for 1 from 50 and longer. ... Falcons receptions leader Calvin Ridley is the brother of Bears receiver Riley Ridley, who has not been active for either game this season. 

Next Week: Bears host Indianapolis Colts (1-1) at Soldier Field, noon, CBS

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven

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