The Bears (3-1) are fresh off their first loss of the season at Detroit and it won’t get any easier come week 5 when they host the New Orleans Saints (4-0).
With a high-powered offense led by Drew Brees, the Saints are rolling so far this season. It will be another test for this Bears defense that has struggled at times this season. The Bears must focus on slowing down this Saints offense and not letting Brees get into a groove. But that will be easier said than done for Chicago who has had problems on the defensive line.
This game is a big one for both teams as the Saints look to remain atop the NFC and unbeaten, while the Bears look to stay atop the NFC North and improve their record to 4-1.
Here are six key players for this Sunday’s showdown at Soldier Field.
The Saints corner back will have the task of slowing down Bears receiver Brandon Marshall all game. That isn’t an easy task but Lewis is capable of having a good game against Marshall.
Lewis was brought into New Orleans to guard number one receivers like Marshall and limit their production. The Saints offense will put up points, but their defense will have to limit the big plays and production from Cutler and the Bears offense.
The Lewis-Marshall matchup is certainly one to look for on Sunday.
Collins took over for Henry Melton who is out for the season with a torn ACL. Last week Reggie Bush ran all over the Bears defensive line. This week the defense faces another speed back in Darren Sproles.
This game is big for Collins who looks to try and fill the void left by Melton. A solid game from Collins could have Bears fans feeling a little better about their defensive line this week.
Graham is a nightmare matchup for the Bears defense. If you can’t cover him, he will make you pay. And at the moment I have no idea who can shut down Graham on this Bears defense.
He’s a favorite target of Drew Brees and will stretch the field for the Saints passing attack. The Bears better make sure they know where he is at all times during the game or it could be a long afternoon for the Bears defense.
After a bad game in Detroit, Cutler looks to rebound against the Saints. This game is big for Cutler who already has fans forgetting his impressive first three weeks of the season and wondering will they get ‘Good Jay’ or ‘Bad Jay’ this week.
Cutler faces a Saints pass defense that is giving up just 192 yards per game through the air, good for fifth-best in the NFL.
Their defense is vulnerable too especially with safety Roman Harper ruled out and corner back Keenan Lewis questionable. If this game get’s into a shootout, Cutler will have to be on his game to keep up with Brees and the Saints offense.
The chance to bounce back after a bad game is there for Cutler. He just needs to take advantage of it.
Forte could be the main key to success for the Bears on Sunday. By running the ball and establishing the run game it will open up the pass game for the Bears. More importantly it will extend drives and kill time off the clock. That keeps Brees off the field as well.
The Bears have used Forte like a workhorse this season. He’s the perfect running back in Marc Trestman’s offense when used properly.
Forte not only gives the Bears a rushing threat but gives them a receiving threat as well. If the Bears can get Forte going early it could be a long day for the Saints defense.
Sproles is a game changer for the New Orleans Saints and that was on display last Monday night against the Dolphins. Much like Graham, Sproles presents a matchup problem for the Bears defense.
With a linebacker on him for most of the game it could be a problem for the Bears defense. Especially if Brees can hit Sproles in stride.
The versatile back could be the difference in the game and much like Forte; he is one of the keys to a successful Saints offense. The Bears defense will look to key in on Sproles and shit him down in the receiving and rushing game.