Editor’s note: NESN.com’s Mike Cole, Ricky Doyle and Andre Khatchaturian deliver their NFL picks every Thursday of the season, and here’s who they like in the Atlanta Falcons-Chicago Bears Week 1 game, with the line from MyBookie.AG.
(-7) Atlanta Falcons at Chicago Bears, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
Mike: Bears. I’m higher on Atlanta than a lot of people seem to be, but I can’t ignore that the Super Bowl runner-up is 0-11 against the spread in Week 1 the last 11 seasons. Hard to ignore that number.
Ricky: Falcons. See the number above. And then ignore it. The Bears’ defense stinks — Pro Football Focus wrote back in July that Chicago has the 30th-ranked secondary (ahead of only the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles) and the 28th-ranked front seven. That doesn’t bode well against the Falcons’ offense, which still stands to be very good this season even if it regresses to some extent.
Andre: Bears. I love the Bears’ front seven, which was seventh in sack percentage last season despite a plethora of injuries. Jordan Howard and the Bears’ offensive line also is extremely underrated (5.2 yards per rush attempt last season.) They’ll eat clock, keep Matt Ryan off the field and keep the game close.
Thumbnail photo via Dan Powers/USA TODAY Sports Images
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