The Chicago Bears can improve to 3-0 for the first time since 2013 when they visit the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday afternoon.
Atlanta is trying to avoid its first 0-3 start since 2007 as scrutiny increases on head coach Dan Quinn's job security. The Falcons fumbled away a victory at Dallas in Week 2 and are still unpacking the totality of the 40-39 loss to the Cowboys.
This is the first meeting between the franchises since 2017. The Falcons held on for a 23-17 victory in Chicago.
"Listen, it is not easy to win in this league, I don't care who you're playing, and we're 2-0," Bears coach Matt Nagy said. "So, (what we've) got to do now is we've got to go back and we've got to balance out, OK, where are we at as a team right now? Do we like our identity -- offense, defense and special teams? How can we get better? And that's what we'll do."
Now, the Bears will make their first trip to Mercedes-Benz Stadium with early season momentum.
Chicago is coming off a 17-13 win over the New York Giants in Week 2, which followed a 27-23 win over the Detroit Lions in Week 1. Neither performance was perfect, but the Bears have done enough to remain as one of 11 unbeaten teams.
Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will make his third start of the season and the 44th of his career. He beat out veteran challenger Nick Foles for the top job during the preseason, and since then he has posted a 92.7 passer rating while throwing for 432 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.
David Montgomery leads the Bears' running backs with 146 rushing yards, while Allen Robinson is the top wideout on the team with 107 receiving yards.
On defense, Akiem Hicks leads Chicago with two sacks. Kyle Fuller and Deon Bush have one interception apiece in the secondary.
No team in the NFL has given up more points through the first two weeks than the Falcons. Atlanta is hoping to regroup on defense after surrendering 38 points to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1 and 40 points to the Cowboys in Week 2.
A special-teams meltdown last week only added to the pressure on Quinn, who is in his sixth season coaching Atlanta and sports a career record of 43-39.
"In terms of the process that we go through, I have a lot of confidence in the staff," Quinn said. "I have a lot of confidence in the players that we will get the performances that we are looking for."
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has posted a terrific 109.6 rating this season while throwing for 723 yards, six touchdowns and one interception. The 35-year-old has thrown 327 career touchdown passes, which ranks 11th all time.
Todd Gurley paces Atlanta on the ground with 117 rushing yards and a touchdown. Calvin Ridley has been Ryan's top target with 239 receiving yards and four touchdowns, but the Bears know that Julio Jones (181 receiving yards) also has the ability to change the game on any given play. Jones did not practice on Wednesday with an aggravated hamstring muscle.
Bears rookie cornerback Jaylon Johnson, a second-round pick out of Utah, said he could not wait for the chance to compete against Atlanta's talented wideouts.
"Just being able to match up against (Jones), arguably one of the best receivers of this generation," Johnson said. "I mean, being able to line up against him, and then Calvin Ridley is an upcoming star as well. Just being able to match up against this high-quality talent is big for me in being able to get my name out there, to be able to make plays against those guys."
--Field Level Media
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Key Players to Watch
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- Concussionday-to-day | questionable
Hawkins has sat out the last three game due to a concussion, and it is unknown if he will play against the Panthers in Week 8.
- Kneeday-to-day | questionable
Gage exited the last game with a knee injury, and it is unclear if he will return against the Panthers in Week 8.
- FootProb Sun | probable
Sheffield is nursing a foot injury, but it is anticipated that he will be in Sunday's lineup versus the Lions.
- HamstringProb Sun | probable
Jones is likely to be available Sunday against the Lions despite a hamstring injury.
- ElbowProb Sun | probable
Ridley is expected to take the field against the Lions on Sunday despite an elbow injury.
- AnkleQues Sun | questionable
Fowler Jr. has an ankle injury, and it is unclear if he will face the Lions on Sunday.
- ElbowProb Sun | probable
Powell is dealing with an elbow injury, but he is projected to line up Sunday versus the Lions.
- GroinQues Sun | questionable
McKinley sat out the previous contest with a groin injury, and it is undetermined if he will suit up Sunday against the Lions.
- AnkleQues Mon | questionable
Skrine is nursing an ankle injury, and it is undetermined if he will line up against the Rams on Monday.
- BackQues Mon | questionable
Spriggs is bothered by a back injury, and it is unknown if he will be active Monday against the Rams.
- KneeI-R | I-R
Joseph has tested positive for the virus. He has been placed on the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list
- HamstringOut Mon | out
McManis is dealing with a hamstring injury, and he will not be available Monday versus the Rams.
- BackProb Mon | probable
Mack is tending to a back injury, but it is likely that he will be in Monday's lineup versus the Rams.
- KneeQues Mon | questionable
Nichlols is managing a knee injury, and his status for Monday's contest versus the Rams is clouded.
- FingerProb Mon | probable
Coward has a finger injury, but he is likely to play Monday against the Rams.
- IllnessProb Mon | probable
Hicks is ailing from an illness, but it is expected that the symptoms will subside in time for Monday's contest against the Rams.