Week 8: Bears at Saints Game Preview

| October 26th, 2017

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears. And they’re going for three straight and .500 at the bye! What’s not to like?

Hey Bears, Play Offense on Sunday

John Fox and Dowell Loggains need to walk into the Superdome Sunday assuming the Saints are going to score in the 20s. Why? Because the Saints always score in the 20s. We’re talking about a team, playing at home, that is:

  • 4th in points and yards per game.
  • 10th in rushing yards per game.
  • 3rd in passing yards per game.
  • Least sacked team in the entire NFL, allowing only 5, and they’ve played the Minnesota (ranked 4th), Carolina (ranked 3rd) and Miami (ranked 10th) defenses this season.

If Fox/Loggains operate the same offensive mathematical equation…

(Run for 2 + Run for 1) x [3rd-and-7 Throw Under Obvious Pressure] = Success?

…they’ll find themselves chasing the game. And the Bears are NOT built to chase any game.

Tweet of the Week

Three Reasons the Bears Win

  • Saints have one of the most balanced offenses in the league but the Bears can render an opponent one-dimensional with their suffocating run defense. There isn’t a pair of interior defensive linemen in the league playing to the standard of Hicks and Goldman and Sunday the Bears held Carolina backs to 21 carries, 58 yards – a staggering 2.76 yards per. If Bears can force Brees to drop back every down, they’ll get to him.
  • On the flip side, the Bears should be able to line up and run the ball on a New Orleans defense allowing 4.9 yards per carry. Green Bay QB Brett Hundley couldn’t play Sunday – it was obvious to anyone watching – and Dennis Allen’s Saints defense still allowed Aaron Jones to go 17-131-1. This kept the game competitive into the fourth quarter. So just because they know you wanna run it doesn’t mean they can stop you.

  • Tarik Cohen on turf. Dowell Loggains clearly spends more time designing plays for Cohen than any other player on the roster. Technically, I can’t prove the Bears have spent any time designing offensive plays for any other player, including their quarterback. Mitch Trubisky seems most confident throwing it up to Wee ‘Rik and allowing him to make a play on the ball. On turf, isolated against these linebackers, Cohen should have a chance for a big afternoon.

Three Reasons They Don’t

  • If John Fox waits to start throwing the football until he HAS to – down two scores late in the fourth quarter – it will be too late. And we have no reason, no historical data, that proves Fox will acknowledge the Saints are going to score points and open things up early.
  • Saints operate the most dynamic screen game in the sport and in rookie Alvin Kamara have found the perfect back for Sean Payton’s system. He’s averaging 6.3 yards a carry and 7.5 yards a reception. Bears pass rush has been excellent but their edge guys tend to be a bit undisciplined. Expect the Saints to exploit that lack of discipline.
  • Four teams in the league have five or less turnovers on the season. New England and New Orleans have 5, Buffalo 3 and Kansas City 1. Those teams are a combined 20-8. (Football! It ain’t that complicated, folks!) The Bears are on a two-game winning streak for one reason and one reason only: turnovers. If the Saints stick to their script, the Bears aren’t getting any.

My Favorite Thing About NOLA

Chicago is my favorite city in America. But New Orleans is where I’d spend the last twenty-four hours before being turning myself in to the sheriff. It is impossible to pick a favorite thing about this remarkable city – the music on Frenchmen, the fried shrimp po’ boy at Verdi Marte, the balcony of the Chateau Hotel, everything about the Napoleon House, Algiers – but I’ll run Willie Mae’s fried chicken against any meal on the planet.

Bet You Didn’t Know

Mitch Trubisky’s 70-yard pass play to Tarik Cohen is longer – by a significant margin – than any Drew Brees completion this season.

Don’t Be Surprised If…

…the Saints score a touchdown on their first possession. The Bears defense is flying high and reading scores of positive headlines all across Chicagoland. (The national media was far more interested in Trubisky throwing seven passes than the dominant defensive effort.) For the first time in a long time the “Monsters of the Midway” have a reason to have the right to use the label. Would it really surprise you if they come out over-confident and Brees dices them up on an opening drive? Not me.

Video of the Week

I believe Norm MacDonald Live is the funniest talk show in the history of man. And this season has been the best so far. Here’s a recent episode with the loopy Jim Carrey.

Saints-Related Links!

  • From Joel A. Erickson of the New Orleans Advocate: “The great pass rushers all have a signature move, an attack so distinctive and so devastating that offensive linemen know it’s coming and remain powerless to stop it…Cameron Jordan has California Cool.” This is a fun piece on the club’s leading rusher.
  • Sean Payton promised a gift to all of his players if they secured their fourth win of the season in Green Bay: pedicures. (Men getting pedicures will always befuddle me.)
  • Saints will be without starting right guard Larry Warford for an extended period of time after suffering an abdominal injury. You don’t want to lose your best guard with Hicks & Goldman coming to town.
  • This NFL.com column on Saints WR Michael Thomas was written last week but this sentence should tell you how important he is to their offense: “Thomas is 13th among NFL receivers in targets and owns a 23.8 percent target market share in the Saints offense which a pass-heavy team with Drew Brees averaging 36 pass attempts per game.”

Game Prediction

Saints will score. They’re arguably the conference’s best offense and they’re at home. The Bears defense can play WELL and still allow 24 points. Can the Bears score more? Yes.

Chicago Bears 27

New Orleans 24

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