MATCHUPS TO WATCH: BEARS OFFENSE VS. FALCONS DEFENSE
TE Greg Olsen vs. LB Stephen Nicholas and SS Erik Coleman: Because Olsen immediately became best friends with Jay Cutler after the Pro Bowl passer arrived from Denver, it was assumed that the former Miami Hurricane was on the fast track to becoming an elite tight end in this league. Instead, Olsen has caught only 10 passes for 94 yards in four games, although he has proven to be an effective target near the goal line with two touchdowns. He is a lot faster than Nicholas and a lot bigger than Coleman, so perhaps this is the week Olsen breaks out with six or seven grabs.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: FALCONS OFFENSE VS. BEARS DEFENSE
WR Roddy White vs. CBs Zack Bowman and Charles Tillman: Bowman has a ton of talent and may be a great cornerback one of these days, but he was humbled by Detroit's Calvin Johnson last time out to the tune of five catches for 119 yards in the first half alone. The coaching staff made a change in the locker room and decided to have Tillman mirror Johnson the rest of the way, and the former Georgia Tech star only managed three receptions for 14 yards in the second half. Since White exploded for 210 yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns last week at San Francisco, it will be interesting to see if Tillman gets shadow responsibilities once again.
THE FALCONS WIN IF ...
THE FALCONS LOSE IF ...
THE BEARS WIN IF ...
THE BEARS LOSE IF ...
John Crist: This is a monster game between 3-1 teams, as the winner with own a head-to-head victory over an NFC opponent and, therefore, a leg up when it comes to wild-card berths and home field advantage come playoff time. Chicago has started slowly in all four games this season before playing much better in the second half, but now they're facing an Atlanta team that can bury on opponent quickly if given the opportunity. This has the makings of a back-and-forth contest, but I like Ryan and Co. to prevail in the Georgia Dome. FALCONS 27, BEARS 24.
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Behind Enemy Lines: Part III
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