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Are the Bears That Good or Are the Falcons That Bad?

Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Bears 30, Falcons 26. If you didn’t closely follow the N.F.L. weekend action, you might guess it was a decent game, closely contested. But hidden beneath the score was a most unlikely game, played by two teams whose fortunes are now on drastically different trajectories.

The Atlanta Falcons and the Chicago Bears were expected to be OK this season, perhaps .500. Last year they were 7-9 and 8-8. They may still wind up around those marks, but their starts show that one team is reeling and the other seems to be flying high, though there are ripples of concern.