We (surprisingly) have made it through the 2020 NFL Season and now the playoffs are here! This year introduces a bye for only one team, as well as three Wild Card teams per conference. The NFL Playoffs are always unpredictable and adding another team should only increase the chance of an upset. With this in mind, every team feels like they have a legit chance to raise that Lombardi Trophy in a few weeks.
In this preview, we are looking into how the New Orleans Saints should easily take down the Chicago Bears.
Your inner seven-year-old will be pleased that this game will be featured on Nickelodeon:
Yes- that’s right! You can see this game on Nickelodeon!!
Of course, if you are “sophisticated” and Nickelodeon isn’t your type of thing, you can also catch the game at 4 pm EST on CBS and Amazon Prime.
The Saints come into his game heavily favored at -10 and they should be. New Orleans won the NFC South for the 5th straight year, finishing 12-4. They take on a Chicago Bears team with a sour taste in their stomach after backing into the playoffs with an 8-8 record.
The Saints beat the Bears 26-23 in overtime Week 8 and lead the all-time series 17-15. New Orleans has won the last eight games in this series but Chicago is 2-0 in playoff matchups.
KEYS FOR THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Run the ball with Alvin Kamara.
Throw to Alvin Kamara.
The entire game.
I’m stressing this because Chicago’s best linebacker Roquan Smith (139 tackles, 4 sacks) is out for this contest due to a dislocated elbow. The middle of the field will be an open freeway for Kamara to run through without Smith’s sideline-to-sideline ability. Additionally, the Saints received big news with star receiver Michael Thomas returning to action this week. Quarterback Drew Brees will have multiple options to score the ball in case Kamara is limited, especially in the red zone:
New Orleans’ offense will be their defense’s best friend in this game. If the “O” is able to get out to a two-score advantage, it will force Chicago to rely on the arm of Mitchell Trubisky (NOT A GOOD IDEA). New Orleans has one of the best defenses in the NFL– 4th in the NFL against the pass, 5th against the run and only allowing 21.1 points per game and 310.9 yards per game. In short, the Bears are toast if they fall behind.
There is some concern that the team will be without star defensive end, Trey Henderickson (13.5 sacks). The Saints have built up such impressive depth on the defensive line that it shouldn’t matter much.
(All of Louisiana must be happy this game is on Sunday, btw).
KEYS FOR THE CHICAGO BEARS
It’s the Bears against the world because NO ONE (not even in Chicago) thinks they can win this game.
Chicago needs to heed attention to Philadelphia’s Week 14 upset of New Orleans. The Eagles shredded the Saints on the ground behind rookie Quarterback Jalen Hurts (18 rushes for 106 yards) and Miles Sanders (14 rushes for 115 yards). This was not a one-time thing as New Orleans has given up 114.3 rush yards per game in their three games after that one.
Head Coach Matt Nagy can’t let his ego get in the way in this one. The Bears need to get back to what they do well– running the ball and play action. To open up the run game, Mitchell Trubisky will need to put on his big boy pants and make plays early on. Key rookie receiver Darnell Mooney will be out with an ankle injury, limiting Trubisky’s passing options and putting the onus on running back David Montgomery (1,070 yards, 8 TDs) and Trubisky to have big days on the ground.
Since the Bears are short-handed on defense, it is so critical to keep the game close. For this to happen the Bears must get pressure on Drew Brees and play bend but not break defense in the red zone. Chicago’s overpaid and underperforming defensive stars (I’m looking at you Robert Quinn) must get in Drew Brees‘ face and hope for a big mistake. New Orleans will get their yards, especially with Roquan out, but the Bears must hold the Saints to a few field goals in the redzone.
Before we get into what happens, there are so many storylines we have to discuss.
The pressure on the Saints in this game will be enormous. Not only will they choke for the FIFTH straight year if they lose, but this is likely IT for their star Quarterback:
How embarrassing would it be for the organization to lose against the 8-8 Bears in Brees’ final season?
There are nothing but question marks on Chicago’s end as well following their horrific collapse against the Packers last weekend. Will this be Mitchell Trubisky’s final game in a Bears Uniform? (PLEASE LET IT BE) Will Head Coach Matt Nagy return to coach the team next season? Will GM Ryan Pace return? A bad performance here may really stir the pot.
The entire Bears offseason and future of this team rides on this game.
What happens then?
New Orleans is going stretch the lead to 24-10 mid-way through the third quarter after a Mitchell Trubisky pick-six. Alvin Kamara will have over 200 yards of total offense, the Saints will be on their way to victory… and then…
“MVP Foles” will show up leading the Bears to three fourth-quarter touchdowns and the Chicago Bears will shock the New Orleans Saints 31-30.
(Only to be destroyed next week at Green Bay)
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