The Atlanta Falcons are coming off back-to-back losses to the Rams and Panthers. Of course, they want to snap their current slump and return to winning football games as they face the Chicago Bears at home in Week 11 of the 2022 NFL season. A win here can actually put the Falcons in a good spot to steal first place in the NFC South. Here are our Falcons Week 11 predictions as they take on the Bears.
The Falcons lost two in a row for the first time since the season's first two weeks. These were particularly disappointing results as well, especially last Thursday's loss to their division rivals, the Carolina Panthers. That game saw Atlanta record only 291 total yards while going 3-of-11 on third downs.
Meanwhile, the Bears' disappointing season continued in Week 10 with a tight 31-30 loss at Soldier Field to the Detroit Lions.
With all these in mind, here are our four bold predictions for the Falcons in their Week 11 game against the Bears.
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4. Kyle Pitts gets TD No. 3
Atlanta TE Kyle Pitts hauled in 2-of-8 targets for 28 yards as the Falcons fell to the Panthers last Thursday night. Pitts, however, led the team in targets for the second time in four days, although he only had two receptions. He now has an impressive 21 targets in the previous three games, but his line of nine catches, 135 yards, and only one touchdown in that stretch still leaves a lot to be desired.
Pitts' upside in this game will likely be quite limited as QB Marcus Mariota will probably be constrained as a game manager. However, the 2021 first-round selection will try to look for a bump in output and efficiency against a notoriously fragile Bears defense. By the game's end, Pitts should record 40+ yards and his third touchdown of the season.
3. Drake London gets a 40+ yard game
Falcons WR Drake London caught 5-of-6 receptions for 38 yards and a score last Thursday. That was his highest receiving yardage since mid-October, though it was a good thing that he hauled down his third touchdown of the season. Speaking of that score, London had to work for it. He had to execute a challenging seven-yard grab between two defenders just before the midway mark of the third quarter.
Still, Falcons fans certainly want to see London break the 40-yard mark. The rookie did it in his first three NFL games this season but has done it just once since. Entering Week 11, however, we see him having a tough time. Again, just like with Pitts, Mariota's role as game manager will limit London's potential yardage here. Still remember that in terms of Pass DVOA, the Bears rank 30th overall. That means it should be realistic to expect London to finish with just over 40 yards.
2. Marcus Mariota is shaky in the air but solid on the ground
During the Falcons'defeat to the Panthers, Mariota completed 19-of-30 passes for 186 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. He also carried three times for 43 yards.
Overall, Mariota's final stats were respectable despite being under constant siege and being knocked down five times. The veteran quarterback connected with Drake London and KhaDarel Hodge for scores of seven and 25 yards, respectively. However, he took two sacks on the Falcons' last multi-play drive, which ended any chance of a comeback. Mariota's throwing yardage total was his second-best since Week 3, but he's now been held under 200 yards in six of his previous seven games.
On the bright side, Mariota did have his fourth multi-touchdown game of the season. Earlier this week, there was speculation that he may be benched in favor of Desmond Ridder, but those have been quashed. Mariota will start
Is that necessarily a good thing? We're unsure. The reality is that at this point, we can't count on him to provide much in the passing game. Again he has had seven games with fewer than 200 passing yards. He's pretty solid on the ground, though. As such, we have him going just under 210 all-purpose yards with one touchdown and no INTs.
1. Falcons nearly blow this one at home
The Bears haven't won a game since Oct. 24, but their offense has been much better recently. In their previous three games, the Bears have actually averaged 30.3 points. That is tied for third-best in the NFL. No, really, it is.
During that time, QB Justin Fields has played like a man possessed. He has 441 passing yards, seven touchdowns, and an interception while also rushing the ball 36 times for 385 yards and four more touchdowns. That's a bit more than 275 all-purpose yards per game! However, he will now face a Falcons defense that allows 3.9 yards per carry to opposing quarterbacks.
Speaking of the Falcons, despite having a slightly better record entering this game, they are just so unpredictable — in the bad sense. Remember that Atlanta boasts the 12th-best offense in the league this season, but it has been restricted to 17 or fewer points in three of the previous four games.
Will they rediscover their rhythm here? Generally speaking, we don't think so, but remember that they are also facing a very shaky Chicago defense. It might not be through the air, but the Falcons offense should do just enough to get by. ATL will show its flaws here, but they will still barely survive the Bears.