Welcome everyone to the latest game preview for the New Orleans Saints! This week, we take a look at their matchup against the Chicago Bears inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Last Week: The Chicago Bears got a big win last Sunday over the Carolina Panthers without scoring an offensive touchdown. Rookie Eddie Jackson wound up being the lone scores of the ballgame with a scoop and score and a pick six on the way to a 17-3 victory.
Meanwhile the Saints overcame a rough start offensively to take down the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers 26-17.
Last Meeting: The last time these two teams took the field, the New Orleans Saints dominated the Bears at Soldier Field on a Monday night by the score of 31-15. While the Bears hold the overall series lead 15-14, the Saints have won the last three matchups.
Storylines to Watch For:
Easy Game for Saints Defense: The Saints defense seemed to take a step back last week with only one sack and one interception. However, it could’ve been largely because the Packers had better field position last week because of the fact that the Saints only punted twice.
That being said, this is going to be an easier ballgame for the defense based off of Chicago’s offensive performance this season. Mitch Trubisky has looked every bit of the rookie quarterback everyone has expected him to be this season. On paper, this may be an easier game for the defense than the Miami game in London. The front seven will need to be bringing pressure to him throughout and a win is within reach.
Ball Security Needs to be Key for Saints: The Saints have had a lot of turnovers in the last two games and you look at what happened with the Bears against Carolina, the Saints will need to keep control of the ball.
The Bears defense isn’t quite at the 1985 levels of good, but they can wreak havoc in a lot of ballgames and make up for the deficiencies on the offensive side of the ball. With that in mind, Brees will have to make sure every pass that he throws isn’t anywhere in the vicinity of Eddie Jackson. He’s shown an ability to be a gamechanger and while it’s hard to duplicate what he did on Sunday, the Saints have given Detroit and Green Bay ample opportunities to put a gap between themselves and the Saints.
Balancing Act for Offense: It’s strange to look at box scores in 2017 for the Saints offense. Just last week, the Saints ran the ball 36 times and threw it 38 times. This is brave new ground for the Saints who have had a hard time finding that balance on offense.
The balance has been crucial for this team’s success in 2017 and a lot of that can be attributed to moving on from Adrian Peterson. Since Adrian Peterson was traded, the offense saw a little bit more of a balance because of how Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram are used.
New Orleans Will Win If:
The Saints can win their fifth straight if they can have the front seven bring pressure throughout. With a rookie quarterback taking snaps, you’ve got to rattle his cage early and often in order to force bad passes that turn into interceptions.
Chicago Will Win If:
Chicago can come away with a big road win if they shut down the Saints offense and get defensive touchdowns. The Bears offense is still a major work in progress and they will need to have the defense get something done to get a win against a good football team.