JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 19: Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons calls a signal during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 19, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Matt Ryan
Last season, it appeared that the Bears were on a collision course with the Atlanta Falcons. The Bears finished just behind the first place Dirty Birds, and the road to the Super Bowl appeared to go through Atlanta, until Green Bay knocked them out.
Now, the two teams will finally meet, with a game that could set the tone for the rest of the season. Get to know the Falcons before they come swooping into Soldier Field.
Matty Ice: He may have the worst nickname in all of sports, but quarterback Matt Ryan is not to be trifled with. He has a career QB rating of 86.9, and is 2-0 against the Bears.
The Rich Get Richer: The other thing that will make Ryan intimidating? The fact that the Falcons' receiving corps became more intimidating. Roddy White is a three-time Pro Bowler, and they drafted Alabama's Julio Jones, one of the best wideouts in the NCAA. White was slowed by injury in the pre-season but is expected to be full-strength by Sunday.
Workhorse: Though the Falcons do have an impressive air attack, running back Michael Turner has led the league in carries two of the last seasons, but the many carries haven't hurt his production. Turner picked up 1,371 yards last season.
Abraham Can Be Cutler's Nightmare: The Bears offensive line has been impressive in the pre-season, but they will face a huge test in John Abraham, the most successful sacker among all defensive ends in 2010. How successful? 13 sacks successful. Getting a sack in more than three fourths of his games kind of successful.
Good Times Grimes: Abraham isn't the only Falcon who can give Cutler headaches. Brent Grimes was second in the league at breaking up passes in 2010, when he disrupted 23 passes.
Bad memories: The Bears are 12-12 against the Falcons, but that last loss is one that lingered. Turner scored a late touchdown to take the win in the final minutes of the game at the Georgia Dome.