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Michael Taylor 18th Oct 2009 - 11:08

Gonzalez one man too much for Chicago

There's nothing surprising about Atlanta's play-off claims this year after the off-season acquisition of future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez added that extra spark to the offence, and it should be for this reason they prove to be too strong for Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears.

Mike Smith seemed to have pulled off a miracle last season as he slotted rookie quarterback Matt Ryan into a Falcons side that had lost twelve games in 2007 and then saw them blossom into one of the NFL's most exciting sides.

They may have lost out to the Cardinals in the Wild Card round of the play-offs but that didn't halt the growing confidence around the Georgia Dome heading into 2009.

It looks to be confidence well placed as well, especially after the week five performance that saw them put 45 points on Mike Singletary's tough San Francisco 49ers.

Gonzalez finally moved away from Kansas but his form has remained at the same level that can be expected from possibly the greatest tight end to have ever played the game, while Michael Turner has continued in a manner that offers Ryan the perfect foil.

It all went a little bit wrong against the Pats in week three and the rush defence can definitely improve but Smith's side are on the right track and there just seems to be no way Chicago can stop them.

That is of course dependant of the Falcons ability to stop Matt Forte.

Atlanta are giving up around five yards per rush, a statistic sure to encourage Lovie Smith in the build up to the big game, and someone like Forte can really take advantage of any weakness.

Add in Jay Cutler's form (three consecutive QB ratings of over 100) and the Bears should at least be able to get a few points on the board in the notoriously home friendly Dome, just not as many at Atlanta.

And the most interesting aspect of the game...the Falcons are giving up just three points on the spread.

It might not be each of two (4/5 about Atlanta -3) but it looks like an absolute banker despite the Bears' three game winning streak.

Elsewhere in what looks like a tough betting week in the NFL, the one spread that stands out is the Pittsburgh Steelers overcoming the 14 point handicap against the Cleveland Browns (10/11).

The Browns may have fought to a first win of the year last week but don't be fooled, they are not in any way a good team, the Bills just happened to be even worse.

Big Ben Roethlisberger is throwing the ball as well as he ever has and the Steelers are beginning to show the odd glimpse of the class that brought the Super Bowl to Pennsylvania last year.

Fourteen points may sound heavy but I wouldn't be surprised to see that covered within the first half, never mind over the full 60 minutes.



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