It’s a homecoming weekend for Justin Fields.
Fields, who played his high school football 27 miles north of Atlanta and initially went to Georgia before transferring to Ohio State, returns to the Peach State as he and the Bears play the Falcons on Sunday in Atlanta. The local product comes to Atlanta on the heels of winning this week’s FedEx Ground Player of the Week award and an NFC Offensive Player of the Week in Week 9.
For the Bears, they’ll see plenty of familiar faces this weekend, including former GM Ryan Pace, who drafted Fields and is now the Falcons Senior Personnel Executive. The list of former Bears in the Falcons organization is long and includes former do-it-all player Cordarrelle Patterson who Bears DC Alan Williams called “respectfully, an alien.” And that’s something Bears fans know all too well.
Chicago Bears (3-7, 4th NFC North) at Atlanta Falcons (4-6, 2nd NFC South) – FOX (Joe Davis, Daryl Johnston and Pam Oliver); WBBM 780 AM, 105.9 FM (Jeff Joniak, Tom Thayer, Mark Grote)
Kickoff Time: Noon CT
Site: Mercedes Benz Stadium; Atlanta, Ga.
Referee: Tra Blake
Odds: ATL -3, O/U 49.5 (via DraftKings Sports Book)
We Got $5 On It
Note: Patrick’s listed bets were placed on Draft Kings Sportsbook, while Luis’ were made at BetMGM.
- One-Game Parlay: Justin Fields 150+ passing yards, Fields OVER 54.5 rushing yards, David Montgomery 55+ rushing yards, Darnell Mooney 50+ receiving yards, Bears OVER 0.5 TDs (1st Half) (+525) — Simplicity is king sometimes. I’m ignoring any good feelings I have and am following the post-bye math. These are numbers the Bears should hit based on recent trends and averages. A $5 wager could win $31.25 if all five legs hit. May the Force be with us as we try to scrounge up some holiday shopping money.
- Same-Game Parlay: OVER 3.5 Bears Total Touchdowns, Justin Fields OVER 74.5 rushing yards, Justin Fields anytime TD (+600) — The Bears have averaged 31 points per contest the past four weeks, and Justin Fields has been on another level on the ground. We’re indoors this week in Atlanta, so we’re going with the over on Bears TDs, Fields rushing yards, and a Fields rushing TD. A $5 bet wins you $35 here.
You can get in on this action at DraftKings:
But there are a number of other official gambling apps you can use (with some juicy promos) right here.
Starting QBs and Projected Game Stats
Falcons: Marcus Mariota: 15/24, 189 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 6 carries, 33 rushing yards
Bears: Justin Fields: 14/23, 174 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 11 carries, 73 rushing yards, 1 TD
Bears Projected Starters
• QB Justin Fields
• RB David Montgomery
• FB Khari Blasingame
• WRs Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool
• TE Cole Kmet
• LT Braxton Jones, LG Cody Whitehair, C Sam Mustipher, RG Teven Jenkins, RT Riley Reiff
• LDE Dominique Robinson, LDT Armon Watts, RDT Justin Jones, RDE Trevis Gipson
• SAM Joe Thomas, MIKE Jack Sanborn, WILL Nicholas Morrow
• LCB Jaylon Johnson, RCB Kyler Gordon
• FS Eddie Jackson, SS Jaquan Brisker
• Cairo Santos (kicker), Trenton Gill (punter, holder), Patrick Scales (long snapper), Dante Pettis (punt returns), ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (kick returns)
Falcons Projected Starters
• QB Marcus Mariota
• RB Cordarrelle Patterson
• WR Drake London, Olamide Zaccheaus, Damiere Byrd
• TE Kyle Pitts
• LT Jake Matthews, LG Colby Gossett, C Drew Dalman RG Chris Lindstrom, RT Kaleb McGary
• LDE Ta’Quon Graham, NT Abdullah Anderson, RDE Grady Jarrett
• WLB Arnold Ebiketie, LILB Mykal Walker, RILB Rashaan Evans, SLB Lorenzo Carter
• LCB A.J. Terrell, RCB Darren Hall
• FS Richie Grant, SS Jaylinn Hawkins
• Younghoe Koo (kicker), Bradley Pinion (punter, holder), Liam McCullough (long snapper),Avery Williams (kick and punt returns)
Cole Kmet — Hey, why would we not have Kmet here again? He’s got as many receiving touchdowns as any receiver in the NFL in the last four weeks. And he and Justin Fields have been cooking together lately.
Kmet has become one of Fields’ favorite targets, especially in the red zone. And quite frankly, Kmet is in the middle of the breakout that we’ve been waiting for since he was drafted three years ago, so let’s hope it rolls on this week in Atlanta.
The Falcons have allowed 11 red-zone passing touchdowns this season, so I would throw a few bucks on Kmet getting another one.
Justin Fields has been as good as any quarterback in football the last month. Now he goes home to Atlanta to take on a Falcons team that his dad had season tickets for when he was growing up.
Fields will look to continue his hot streak against the Falcons 27th-ranked scoring defense (25.0 PPG), a unit that is allowing a league-worst 280.1 passing yards per game. We talked about how bad the Lions pass defense was ahead of last week’s game, and while we saw the Bears take a couple shots down field, they still leaned into the run.
Will the Falcons’ defense be the unit the Bears look to take advantage of through the air? If they do put up numbers against them, it’ll be organically. OC Luke Getsy reminded everyone on Thursday that the Bears identity on offense starts with running the football, and they’re not going away from that.
“We run the rock and we do a good job with the play-pass game and so it’s not like we’re just spreading ’em out,” Getsy said. “We’re not the Cincinnati Bengals just spreading out 2 by 2 and spitting it out, one-on-one routes. That’s not been who we are.”
More on QB1 in this week’s Fields Film:
Chase Claypool saw a reduction in snaps and targets last week against the Lions, but everyone at Halas Hall seems to believe that Claypool is nearing the point where they’re comfortable with his grasp of the playbook, at least to the point where he can take on a larger role in the offense.
Bears wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert said on Thursday that there is a more extensive package of plays for Claypool installed in this week’s game plan for the Falcons:
“Hopefully we’ll see more playing time from him. And we’ve always had a lot of plays in for him, but it’s just a matter how the game’s going, what plays are called, plays that are not called. We run the ball so well here so we do a lot of that stuff too. But there is a big package for him within our game plan. Just whenever you get to it, hopefully we’ll get to some of it this week and you will see it. We’ll see.”
Tolbert, like Getsy, cautioned that the Bears weren’t changing their identity on offense just to get Claypool involved. But if the game dictates it, they’re ready to get him more involved.
More on Claypool’s usage: