Sunday's preseason opener pits the two teams with the best record in the NFC last season, the Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons against each other. Aaron Wilson, Scoout.com's NFL analyst, provides his take on tomorrow's matchup.
Q: QB Matt Ryan and WR Roddy White are one of the most-prolific passing combinations in the game right now. Can rookie Julio Jones or any other Falcons receiver take the pressure off White and force the Bears not to roll coverage his way?
WR Julio Jones
Justin K. Aller/Getty
Aaron Wilson: Julio Jones is a potentially formidable downfield target, but his hands are wildly inconsistent. He has to adjust from being somewhat of a body-catcher at Alabama to always hauling in passes with his palms and fingertips. He's too fast to not respect, though, and will command the Bears' attention.
Q: With two new starters along the offensive line, should the Falcons' running game, which features a 29-year-old Michael Turner, still be the focus of Chicago's defense?
AW: The Falcons have slowly been morphing into more of a passing outfit. You still have to respect Michael Turner, but not to the point where you are constantly overloading the box to slow him down. He can be tackled.
AW: The Falcons' pass rushers are extremely fast and get upfield in a hurry. They have a repertoire of moves to go with that raw speed and are experienced players. I foresee a long day ahead of the Bears' young offensive linemen.
AW: This could provide the edge the Bears need to remain competitive should this game turn into a shootout. If I'm Mike Martz, I attack this group besides avoiding Grimes. He's a playmaker.
Q: The Bears will win if...?
AW: They can contain Matt Ryan and Roddy White and prevent them from having a field day while also grinding out enough yards with Matt Forte and Co. to keep the Falcons honest. Atlanta likes to blitz even though it doesn't always need to.
Q: The Falcons will win if...?
AW: They avoid turnovers and force Jay Cutler into his trademark mistakes.
Q: Your prediction?
AW: Falcons 31, Bears 20
Aaron Wilson is Scout.com's NFL analyst and publisher of RavensInsider.com.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.