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Falcons Hold Off Late Bears Rally

The Atlanta Falcons didn’t so much win their Sunday Night NFL Football game against the Chicago Bears as much as the Bears lost it. A series of costly mistakes and turnovers in the red zone negated an otherwise solid road effort for the Bears, as Atlanta held on to win 21-14 at the Georgia Dome. Chicago held a decisive edge in most of the statistical categories, but was undone by untimely turnovers. Atlanta improved to 4-1 with the victory while Chicago slipped to 3-2.

Chicago also disappointed fans who bet on NFL football by failing to cover the pointspread as +4 road underdogs. Both teams’ ATS records match their straight up records with the Falcons moving to 4-1 against the number while the Bears slumped to 3-2. The 35 combined points went UNDER the posted total of 46. Both teams have now gone UNDER in three of five games this season.

Winning Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan chose to credit his defense rather than point to Chicago mistakes as the determining factor in the outcome:

“Our defense, give them some credit. Our guys stepped up and made some plays when we needed them to.”

The Bears did a good job shutting down Falcons’ star running back Michael Turner holding the NFL’s second leading rusher to only 30 yards. He came through with the game on the line, however, rushing for the winning touchdown with just over three minutes remaining in the game. Ryan praised his running back’s effort:

“Our offensive line did a great job just giving me just enough time to get the ball off, and then Michael Turner did what he does. The offensive line provided a great push and just paved his way.”

The Falcons are now 4-1 for only the fifth time in team history, the last coming in 2004. Despite their solid start, they’re still trying to keep pace with the red hot New Orleans Saints who improved to 5-0 with their win over the New York Giants earlier in the day. On this occasion, the Falcons’ Ryan was outplayed by the Bears Jay Cutler between the twenties but the Atlanta signal caller made all of the right moves in scoring range.

Atlanta can improve to 5-1 and break the mark for best start in franchise history with a win on the road at Dallas next Sunday. That’ll be followed by an even bigger road game, on Monday Night Football against the New Orleans Saints-a contest full of all sorts of implications for the eventual divisional championship in the NFC South. They’ll return home the following Sunday to host the struggling Washington Redskins. The Bears will be back on the road next weekend to take on the Cincinnati Bengals before returning home for games the following two Sundays against the Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals.

Ross Everett is a freelance sports writer who has written on sports gambling and how to successfully bet on NFL football. He has appeared on TV and radio talking about boxing, hockey and NFL pointspreads. He lives in Las Vegas with three Jack Russell Terriers and a wombat.