NEW ORLEANS SAINTS at CHICAGO BEARS, 4:25 PM ET
BetOnline Pro Football Betting Odds: Saints -4 (-115), Bears +4 (-105)
Total: 42.5 points (Over -115, Under -105)
The story with the Chicago Bears this season is the same as it has been in a lot of seasons. That is to say, they are pretty hard-nosed on the defensive side of the ball, but somewhat impotent on offense. They have been getting results, by and large, although their formula doesn’t always work against the better teams.
On Sunday they have to deal with Drew Brees and the Saints, but it’s a little different club than it was before. New Orleans has been operating without Michael Thomas, the receiver who caught a record 149 passes last season. And it is the kind of thing that can catch up to them. Thomas has found difficulty in multiple ways. First he had a high ankle sprain, suffered in the second game of the season. When he was ready to return, he got into a scuffle with a teammate and punched him in the jaw, which got him a suspension. Then he developed a hamstring problem. So it’s going to be a bit before he becomes available.
The same can be said about Emmanuel Sanders, the #2 receiver was diagnosed with COVID-19 (and got pretty scared about it, we might add0. We absolutely have faith in Brees’ ability to improvise, and of course they’ve got one of the best dual-purpose backs in the league in Alvin Kamara. But there is only so much you can do when you are missing principal weapons.
The Bears would like to have some weapons, period. And honestly, when it comes to offensive yards per play, Chicago is down there in Jets-Giants-Washington territory.
Nick Foles was installed in place of Mitchell Trubisky, and although his credentials are substantial (e.g., Pro Bowl, Super Bowl MVP), he is not moving down the field with a lot of urgency, as he’s averaging just 5.7 yards per attempt.
By the way, speaking of 5.7, that is the number of “air yards” Brees averages per throw, which is dead last in the league,. So he is short-arming it once again, and without perhaps two of the top three people he could be connecting with.
Now consider that the Bears are best in the NFC and second best in the NFL in defensive completion percentage. With Brees’ low-risk approach that figure get hurt a bit, but with the range of New Orleans’ passing game limited, that might just create some openings for this Bears stop unit.
One thing that kind of sticks out like a sore thumb is the disparity between these teams when it comes to being able to keep opponents from scoring inside the red zone.
In red zone defense, Chicago has allowed touchdowns on only 42.3% of possessions, with is #1 in the NFL. On the other end of the spectrum, the Saints are the most permissive team in the NFL in the red zone, allowing TD’s on 86.4% of opportunities.
When you have a situation when the home team is getting more than a field goal, that’s a heck of a thing to have working in your favor.
And that is one over-arching reason why we are glad to be grabbing the points in this matchup with CHICAGO.
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