After a disappointing loss last week to the division rival Lions, the Bears will look to make a statement that they can hang with the best in the NFC as they play host to the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints (4-0) come in hot off a dominating win on Monday Night Football against the Miami Dolphins. The Bears on the other hand limp into this one with a banged up defense which doesn’t look well for them against this potent Saints offense.
WHEN THE BEARS HAVE THE BALL.
Jay Cutler will look to turn in a strong effort this week as he looked shaky in the pocket last week when he tossed three interceptions. This Saints pass defense has been strong over the first four games only allowing 192.3 yards per game through the air which is good enough to rank them third in the league.
However, they rank in the bottom half of the league in rush defense allowing 112 yards per game.
The Bears should look to give the Saints a heavy doss of Matt Forte early and often, as he has the ability to break a long touchdown run at any moment. Another benefit of the Bears establishing the run game is that they can use the play action pass to soften up the Saints pass defense and give the bears receivers more room to work.
Something the Bears can use to their advantage in the pass game is Martellus Bennett. He will most likely be matched-up with either a safety or a linebacker, and the Bears need to exploit the mis-match that Bennett provides them.
The Bears success on offense will come down to mixing up the play calls and keeping the Saints defense guessing, also the Bears need to watch out for the classic Rob Ryan blitz packages that the Saints now have at their disposal. This means that the Bears offensive line as well as Matt Forte needs to keep up their good work in pass protection and keep Jay off of his back.
WHEN THE SAINTS HAVE THE BALL
The Bears defense will face its toughest task by far this season as they look to corral Drew Brees and this high powered Saints Offense. With the Bears defense being banged this Saints offense becomes even harder to defend.
This unit presents so many mismatches for the Bears that they need to account for. The main players that will cause mismatches for the Bears are Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles.
Sproles will line up in either the slot or in the backfield and in all likey hood will be covered by Lance Briggs or DJ Williams. This mismatch will present issues for the Bears because of the route running and speed ability that Sporles possess.
On the other hand you have the massive tight end Jimmy Graham. This guy presents a mismatch against every team he faces and the Bears safties will have their hands full with him as he presents a significant size problem for the Bears. On top of these mismatches with Peanut Tillman being banged up and having to face Marques Colston that can only add to the Bears problems.
The one advantage the Bears have on defense is that they can neutrlize these match ups by getting to Drew Brees. The Bears defensive line has to step up in order for them to have any chance at stopping this offense. The task might prove to be manageable as the Saints have struggled to protect Brees early on. Julius Peppers and the rest of the defensive line need to get pressure with just their front four. If the Bears end up having to to Blitz that could only lead the Saints to exploiting those mismatches more especially with the football IQ of Drew Brees.
THE X FACTOR
Julius Peppers is the X factor in this game because he hasn’t shown up much so far this season and the Bears need him this game more than ever. If he and the rest of the Bears defensive line can get to Brees it could change the whole dynamic of the game an eliminate some of those obvious mismatches.
The Bears defense will struggle to stop the Saints offense, and Brees gets his first win at Soldier Field. Saints 30-20