Bears vs. Falcons NFL Week 11 Picks & Prediction: Two Teams Searching for A Spark

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Cole Kmet #85 of the Chicago Bears celebrates with Justin Fields #1 of the Chicago Bears after Fields' touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions. Quinn Harris/Getty Images/AFP

If the playoffs started today, the Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons would both be cleaning out their lockers to prepare for a long offseason after missing out on the postseason. Both teams are within striking distance of a spot, however, making Sunday’s Week 11 showdown between the teams crucial for both.

Chicago enters on a three-game losing streak, despite scoring 91 points in the three games. The losses have dropped the Bears into last place in the NFC North, at 3-7. The NFC has a thick middle, however, with most teams clustered around .500, so Chicago is just a game out of second place in the division.

Atlanta enters on a two-game losing streak, but, at 4-6, the Falcons are in second place in the NFC South odds boards. Sunday’s game starts a stretch of three straight against last-place teams, so the soft schedule could help Atlanta move up in the standings.

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Chicago Bears vs. Atlanta Falcons

Sunday, November 20, 2022 – 01:00 PM EST at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Bears Offense is Fine

The Bears have found their footing on offense. Quarterback Justin Fields is having a coming-out party in his second NFL season. He rushed for 178 yards two weeks ago –the most by an NFL quarterback in more than 80 years. He followed that up with 147 rushing yards and two touchdowns last week. He's the only quarterback in a half century to have multiple 60-plus yards rushing scores in the same season, both coming in the last two weeks.

He's also been accurate throwing, recording two touchdowns last week, including a 50-yard touchdown pass to Cole Kmet. The tight end is also having a breakout season, leading all NFL tight ends in touchdowns. The Bears have had at least 225 rushing yards in each of the last five games, the first team in 55 years to accomplish that. They also added a pair of 50-yard kickoff returns.

The defense hasn’t been able to keep teams from matching and exceeding Fields’ output, however. The Bears have lost six of their last seven and are 1-3 in the last four games despite scoring 29 points or more in each. They’ve allowed 115 points in the last three games.

The Offense... Not So Much

The defense was worst when the game was on the line last week, allowing two touchdowns and three penalties in the fourth quarter.

We can’t keep shooting ourselves in the foot,” safety Eddie Jackson said. “We gotta do our jobs. We gotta get this fixed. We gotta get it fixed fast.”

Cornerback Jaylon Johnson has been playing through an oblique injury and gave up a 44-yard completion during Detroit’s rally from 14 down last week.

“I went out there and played through the discomfort, played through the pain,” he said.

Coach Matt Eberflus wasn’t hearing it, however. “Yeah, we don’t make excuses,” he said. “He was out there playing. We’ve got to play.”

No Change Coming for Falcons

The Falcons played last Thursday, losing to the Panthers and ending their brief stay in first place in the division. The prime-time game gave Atlanta a “mini bye” with a few extra days off over the weekend to rest and recover.

The extra time would have been the perfect opportunity to make a change at quarterback that many observers say is overdue. Marcus Mariota has struggled as the starter, hitting rock bottom with a blind pass thrown while falling down that was picked off and returned for a touchdown against Carolina (although refs ruled he was already down before throwing it, waving off the interception).

Coach Arthur Smith has said that the team will not make the switch to rookie Desmond Ridder, however, giving Mariota a vote of confidence.

“There’s no situation,” he said. “There was no situation ever… You lose two games in five days and everybody wants to panic. We're right in the middle of it. We're not where we want to be, but the reality is we're right in the middle of a playoff race with a conference opponent coming in here – a game we need to win.”

The Final Picks

The Falcons have had the better season so far, but the Bears will have the best unit on the field on Sunday, with Fields and the offense showing an explosive power over the last month.

For this game's betting picks, look for Fields, Kmet, and the Chicago offense to put up points and outscore a Falcons team that, despite what Smith claims, needs a spark on offense.

Score Prediction: Bears 31 - Falcons 23

NFL Pick: Bears +3 (-102) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Bears +3 (-102)
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NFL Pick: Over 50.5 (-104) at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review)

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Over 50.5 (-104)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.