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Week 1 Preview: Bears vs Falcons

Todd Kirkland/Icon SMI

Atlanta Falcons (0-0) @ Chicago Bears (0-0)

Location: Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois 

Time: Sunday, September 11, 2011 12:00PM CDT TV: Fox Radio: WBBM 780

There are many questions heading into the season opener for the Chicago Bears. Most importantly, is it too early to start tailgating? 

The Bears are 5-2 in their home opener under Lovie Smith as a coach. Cutler and crew are excited to take the field on a day where the nation will be paying respect to those who lost their lives on 9/11. Lance Briggs and others plan to wear Red, White, & Blue gloves & cleats. 

To deviate from Lance's attire, here the major story lines of the game....

  • What will newly signed Bear Brandon Meriweather's role be? How much playing time will he receive? 
  • Julio Jones -vs- Tim Jennings. Many think Jones will have a field day. 
  • Aaron Rodgers picked apart the Atlanta defense in the playoffs, will Cutler have the same success? 
  • Will the highly touted defensive line contain Michael "The Burner" Turner? 
  • Soldier Field Sod. Regardless of the game, how nice it looks, commentators always make it a point to point out the sod at Soldier Field consistently through the game. It's only fair to mention it here. 
  • Bears Special Teams. With the newly instituted kickoff rules, Darren Sproles of the Saints and Randall Cobb of the Packers had great returns, hopefully this will ring true for Knox & Hester. 
  • The winner of the game will hold the series favor as it's currently deadlocked all-time at 12-12. 
  • Last time the Falcons won a game at Soldier Field was on September 4th, 1983. 
  • How will the offensive line perform in the regular season after stellar reviews in the pre-season? 
  • Matt Forte ran with passion during the pre-season while hoping for an extension. Now that the Bears decided to wait until the end of the season to negotiate, will Forte run with the same passion we saw in the pre-season? 
  • The most important thing Bear fans want to know is how much will we be seeing DANE SANZENBACHAAAAAAAAAAAAA(er). 
After watching the Bears play the Packers close in the NFC Championship game after dismantling the Falcons, Bear fans have reason to be optimistic about this game. My personal prediction for the game is a Bears victory over the Falcons by a score of 24-20.