The Falcons–who are also fighting for a playoff spot–have an excellent chance leave with a victory today in Chicago. Atlanta is one of the league’s premier running teams and use Denver’s zone blocking scheme, which is very tough to defend against. (The best article explaining zone blocking that I’ve read thus far is by Sporting News’ Paul Attner in last week’s issue. Read it.)
The Bears, obviously, have a tough defense but the absence of strong safety Mike Brown hurt them last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and could hurt them again today. Brown is supurb against the run; there is a performance drop-off with his replacement, Todd Johnson, who is also vulnerable against the pass.
Atlanta just needs to get ahead, hold the lead, and make the Bears rookie QB Kyle Orton prove that he can come from behind. I don’t think he can.
Finally, Atlanta does have their X factor at quarterback, Michael Vick. If one player can single-handedly beat a team, as we Vikings fans know, Vick can.