A bust in his debut with the Chicago Bears, quarterback Jay Cutler composed himself and has led the way to three consecutive wins.
Cutler has energized the offense, with support from running back Matt Forte and wideout Devin Hester. The Bears are no longer all about trying to win ugly with defense.
The Atlanta Falcons, who put up 45 points against San Francisco last week, boast a surplus of playmakers with quarterback Matt Ryan, running back Michael Turner, tight end Tony Gonzalez and wideout Roddy White.
The Gold Sheet handicapper Bruce Marshall said an offensive display likely awaits when the Falcons host the Bears tonight. Marshall recommends betting over the total of 451/2.
"Improved weaponry on both sides means we can probably expect more points to be scored than in last year's 22-20 thriller won by the Falcons," Marshall said. "Cutler is beginning to get into a nice groove for the Bears. Forte also finally found some room to run in the last game, suggesting that Cutler should have more of an infantry diversion against an Atlanta defense that has been somewhat permissive versus the run.
"The Falcons' offensive attack has a bit more bite, too. The dry and fast track of the Georgia Dome assures that the elements will have no bearing on this contest. With both defenses and kick-return units also capable of generating big plays, there are plenty of ways for this one to go over the total."
Marshall, who is 5-0 with recommended plays on the Denver Broncos under the total this season, outlines technical notes on other Week 6 games:
• Houston at Cincinnati: The underdog has covered the first five Cincinnati games. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis is 2-7 against the spread (ATS) in his past nine as a favorite. Edge: Texans.
• Philadelphia at Oakland: The Raiders are 3-8 ATS at home since last year and 8-22 ATS in their past 30 at home. The Eagles are 13-5 ATS in their past 18 away. Edge: Eagles.
• Arizona at Seattle: The Cardinals won and covered both meetings last season and are 4-1 ATS in the past five in the series. Eight of the past 10 series meetings went over the total. The Cardinals are 10-5 over in their past 15 away. Edge: Over.
Compiled by Las Vegas Review-Journal sports writer Matt Youmans.