Kickoff: 7:20 p.m. Central
Television: NBC – Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Andrea Kremer
Series: 24th meeting. Bears lead series 12-11. They've won three of the last four, but the Falcons stole one last year in the Georgia Dome. After the Bears took a 20-19 lead with 11 seconds left, they botched a squib kick and then allowed Matt Ryan to complete a 26-yard pass to Michael Jenkins to set up Jason Elam's 48-yard field goal as time expired.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Bears RB Matt Forte is averaging just 3.8 yards per carry, but Chicago will attempt to establish the run early. Atlanta is allowing 127.0 rushing yards per game and is particularly vulnerable between the tackles. Running the ball would also help control the tempo in a loud road venue against a very balanced offense. Atlanta came out of its bye and got RB Michael Turner and WR Roddy White more involved in the offense last Sunday. The Bears have improved their pass rush significantly this season, but Ryan has been sacked just two times and will be tough to pressure if Turner is effective on early downs.
Jay Cutler is the first Bears quarterback with three consecutive games with a 100-plus passer rating since 1970. ... Ryan is 9-1 at home.
RB Adrian Peterson
Getty Images: Otto Greule Jr.
Bears: LB Hunter Hillenmeyer, who started two games at middle linebacker after Brian Urlacher suffered a season-ending fractured wrist in the opener, is expected to miss his second consecutive game with a fractured rib. ... LB Nick Roach is expected to start his second straight game at middle linebacker in place of Hillenmeyer and his fourth straight overall after two starts on the strong side in place of Pisa Tinoisamoa. ... Tinoisamoa is expected to return to the starting strong-side linebacker spot for the first time since suffering a sprained knee on the first play of the season. ... DT Anthony Adams (toe) practiced Thursday on a limited basis after sitting out Wednesday, and he is expected to start his fifth consecutive game Sunday. ... DT Israel Idonije, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Oct. 5, practiced on a limited basis Thursday and expects to play Sunday. ... RB Adrian Peterson (knee) has not practiced this week and is not expected to play Sunday, leaving Garrett Wolfe as the only backup to Forte.
Falcons: DE John Abraham has 87 career sacks, including three this season. ... RB Jerious Norwood returned to practice over the bye week after missing one game with a concussion. He played from scrimmage last week but did not return kickoffs. ... White ranks first on the team with 23 catches for 329 yards. He has three touchdown catches. ... Jenkins has 14 catches for 187 yards this season, with a season-long reception of 26 yards against New England. ... TE Tony Gonzalez ranks second on the team in receiving yards with 215 and two touchdowns.
Falcons 27, Bears 20.
Agree? Disagree? Let your voice be heard on our message board RIGHT HERE
Bear Report: The only publication exclusively dedicated to your Chicago Bears.