Saints Offense vs Bears Defense
The Bears’ identity is with their defense, and it is how they’ll try to come away with a win in New Orleans.
For the season, they have the 11th-ranked defense in yards/play. Meanwhile, they limited to New Orleans to just 5.5 yards/play in their first matchup.
There are some leaks with their defense, however, and it has shown with their struggles against some of the better offenses they have faced, mainly the Packers, Vikings, and even the Lions. Cornerback Kyle Fuller is tremendous, but besides that, their cornerback depth is lacking.
Thus, having ample receiver depth for the Saints will be key. Luckily, Michael Thomas is back to practicing this week, and if they are able to leverage him or Emmanuel Sanders in the slot against Skrine, they should be able to pass the ball effectively.
The Bears also have struggled at times defending the middle of the field. They have allowed the 13th-most receiving yards to running backs, as well as the sixth-most receiving yards to tight ends. When these two teams first faced off, Alvin Kamara and Jared Cook combined for 14 receptions and 147 yards, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they were key parts of the passing game here as well.
Where Chicago has really held their own is in run defense- they rank ninth in rushing yards/attempt.
Thus, this is a game where New Orleans will specifically want to pass the ball early and often. Since that is what efficient offenses generally do anyway, the Bears’ strengths could actually be a benefit for the Saints.
Passing the ball often on early downs to avoid obvious passing situations against a strong pass rush, as well as take advantage of some weak links in pass coverage, has to be a necessity for head coach Sean Payton.
Should he choose to run their running backs into a brick wall, this could be very similar to the first time they played Chicago.