By Matthew Asher
For some reason the Atlanta Falcons (2-3) haven’t been able to win a single game this season when they don’t play at home. The good news is that they return home to the Georgia Dome this week to take on the Chicago Bears (2-3), a team that’s also had its share of miscues through the first five games this season. The potential bad news? Both of Chicago’s wins have come on the road, so nothing’s a guarantee.READ MORE: United Airlines Puts $10 Million Behind Plan To Shuttle Customers By Electric Aircraft
Chicago’s offense isn’t anything special as far as rankings are concerned. The Bears average 23.2 points a game, right in the middle at 16th in the league. A lot of it has to do with the yards their offense puts up each game. The 348.6 total yards with 246.2 passing yards are also in the middle of the league ranking at 17th and 14th, respectively.
Quarterback Jay Cutler has completed 68.1 percent of his passes for 1295 yards, 12 touchdowns and 6 interceptions for a passer rating of 94.9. He’s also been sacked 12 times and has scored one rushing touchdown.
So far three Bears have recorded more than 20 receptions. Matt Forte has 36 catches for 299 yards and one touchdown. Martellus Bennett is responsible for 32 grabs resulting in 312 yards and four touchdowns. Alshon Jeffery has caught 26 balls for 359 yards and two touchdowns. But none of these men are leading the team in TD receptions. That would be Brandon Marshall who has just 19 receptions, 188 yards but five of them have been for touchdowns.
The one part of the offense that really struggles is the running game where the 102.4 yards are 21st in the league. Matt Forte is the only Bear with more than 20 rushing attempts. He’s run the ball 82 times for 319 yards and no touchdowns. The rushing TD by Cutler mentioned earlier is the lone Bears running touchdown this season, so if Atlanta is going to win they have to contain this part of the Bears offense.
Bears DefenseREAD MORE: Time Is Running Out For Biden To Make Key Decisions On Student Loans
Just like with the offense, Chicago’s defensive numbers aren’t impressive, but not terrible either. The one statistic that’s in the bottom third of the league is the one that really matters: scoring. The Bears surrender 26.2 points a game, ranking them at 23rd in the league.
The rest of the defensive stats are all middle of the road. Chicago allows 362.4 total yards, with 246.4 coming in the air and 116.0 on the ground ranking the Bears 18th, 18th and 17th, respectively. However, Chicago has done a good job of limiting turnovers, currently at plus-one in the league.
Chicago has recorded seven interceptions this season with Kyle Fuller leading the team with three. Chris Conte has two picks and Ryan Mundy and Lance Briggs each have one interception to their credit. Mundy is the lone Bear to record a pick-six thus far, returning his interception for a 45-yard touchdown.
Part of the reason for the high scoring numbers is that Chicago hasn’t done a particularly good job of sacking the opposing quarterbacks. Despite signing free agent and sack-master Jared Allen this offseason, he has yet to record a single sack. As a team the Bears have recorded 11 total sacks. Not bad, but not great either.
One of the problems for the Falcons this season has been their inability to stop the run. Teams have often forced Atlanta to use their nickel package and then run the ball down their throats. But with Chicago’s lack of running depth, this should allow the team to designate one player to the running back and not worry about anything else. Plus Atlanta is 2-0 at home this season. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:25 pm ET. #RiseUp
For more Falcons news and updates, visit Falcons Central.MORE NEWS: Shell And Chevron Shut Gulf Of Mexico Oil Platforms After Leak Halts Pipelines
Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist. From an early age, sports have played a major role in his life. He graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Journalism. After college he spent 2 years working with CNN Sports and still occasionally writes sports articles for several publications both in the United States and Canada. His work can be found on Examiner.com.