Bears predictions: The season opener against the Falcons

The Chicago Sun-Times’ experts offer their predictions for the Bears’ matchup with the Falcons in Week 1:

RICK MORRISSEY

Falcons, 31-17

Couldn’t the NFL have found somebody more the Bears’ speed for the opener? A rebuilding team going up against the defending NFC champions doesn’t seem like a fair fight. The only way this is close is if the Bears discover some offensive playmakers before kickoff. Season prediction: 5-11.

Bears tight end Zach Miller takes the field before the preseason finale against the Browns. (AP)

RICK TELANDER

Falcons, 24-20

I think the Bears are intriguing — as in they might not be as bad as predicted. But I also think it will take awhile for them to find that elusive thing, an identity. So this one’s a loss. Tampa Bay, next week? Hmm. Season: 7-9.

ADAM L. JAHNS

Falcons, 24-20

The Bears can win this game. The Falcons wouldn’t be the first Super Bowl-losing team to struggle in the early going. The Panthers and Seahawks lost their season openers on the road the previous two seasons. But it’s hard to pick the Bears until we learn more about what Mike Glennon and Co. can do in real games. Season prediction: 7-9.

PATRICK FINLEY

Falcons, 24-18

The Bears will try to ugly up their games this year, relying on a running game and stout front seven to try to win low-scoring, bruising affairs. That will work against some teams; the Falcons, who won their games by an average score of 34-25 last year, are not one of them. Season prediction: 6-10.

MARK POTASH

Falcons, 23-17

The Falcons are the defending NFC champions, with plenty of offensive firepower in Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman. But if the Bears’ defense is for real, this might not be as bad of a matchup as it appears. Season prediction: 6-10.

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