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Atlanta Falcons vs. Chicago Bears Predictions, Odds, Picks and NFL Week 1 Betting Preview – September 10, 2017

Atlanta Falcons vs. Chicago Bears Predictions, Odds, Picks and NFL Week 1 Betting Preview – September 10, 2017

Atlanta Falcons vs. Chicago Bears Preview

Where: Soldier Field – Chicago, IL

When: Sunday, September 10, 2017, 1:00 PM ET

Line: Atlanta Falcons (-6.5) vs. Chicago Bears (+6.5); total 48.5 – view all 2017 NFL lines

TV Broadcast: FOX

NFL News and Previews

Betting on the Atlanta Falcons (-255)

Point Spread: -6.5

The last time the Atlanta Falcons were in a competitive football game, they suffered the most catastrophic collapse in Super Bowl history as they blew a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots. The Falcons will need to find a way to get over that traumatic experience this season, and a Week 1 matchup against the Chicago Bears seems a good opportunity to exorcise some demons.

Apart from departed offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, just about everyone of consequence is back for the Falcons this season. And even without Shanahan leading the offense, the Falcons should still be able to put up points.

Reigning league MVP Matt Ryan still has a host of weapons at his disposal, a list which includes superstar receiver Julio Jones and the highest-paid running back in the league, Devonta Freeman.

Meanwhile, the offensive line was one of the best in the league last season, and apart from right guard Chris Chester, it has remained intact. Freeman and the Falcons line could have a big day against a bad Bears run defense that finished way down in 29th in run defense DVOA last season.

Speaking of defense, the Falcons should be much better on that side of the ball. Their youthful and speedy defense had the Pats on the ropes for a while in the Super Bowl, and they should be a bit more consistent this year with more experience.

Pass rusher Vic Beasley finally had a breakout year as he led the league with 15.5 sacks last season. If he and Grady Jarrett can put pressure on rookie Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky, there’s a decent chance the Falcons can come away with more takeaways and win the turnover battle. Atlanta was a +11 in terms of turnover differential last season, tied for fourth in the league; Chicago was tied for last.

Betting on the Chicago Bears (+215)

Point Spread: +6.5

After a very disappointing 3-13 season last year, in large part due to poor quarterback play, the Chicago Bears decided to invest a lot of resources on the position this offseason. They signed Mike Glennon in free agency, and traded up to draft Mitchell Trubisky No. 2 overall. After a solid preseason, the Bears are set to start the rookie in Week 1 against the defending NFC champions.

With Cameron Meredith out for the year after a torn ACL and Victor Cruz cut, Trubisky will be short of receiving options right off the bat. Kevin White, who has played just four games since being drafted No. 7 overall in 2015, is now the team’s No. 1 receiver, with former Tennessee Titan Kendall Wright the No. 2.

The Bears offense does have a couple of things going for it, though. For one, the offensive line has a chance to be one of the best in the league. The interior, in particular, will be outstanding after they added All-Pro guard Josh Sitton in free agency.

Meanwhile, running back Jordan Howard gives them an outstanding weapon in the running game. Howard was undoubtedly the team’s breakout star last season as he put up 1,313 rushing yards in his rookie year, second in the league behind Ezekiel Elliott. Howard should be able to do some damage against a Falcons run defense that was also bad, finishing 28th in the league per DVOA.

However, the Bears defense was subpar last season, and unless the secondary takes a significant step up, they will struggle to contain the Falcons through the air.

Writer’s Prediction

The Falcons (-7) have too much firepower for Chicago and start the season with a 31-21 road win.

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Written by Brad

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