NFL Football: New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears return off of their bye to take on the red-hot New Orleans Saints. While the Bears have been up-and-down while operating with their backup quarterback, Chase Daniel, the Saints have had no problems with Teddy Bridgewater running the show. Even with Drew Brees out, the Saints have won four in a row. This week figures to be their toughest test as they visit Soldier Field on Sunday. They might be without star running back Alvin Kamara too, making this road trip all the more challenging.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS AT CHICAGO BEARS
NFL ODDS: BEARS -3
NFL TOTAL: 38.5

WHY THE SAINTS WILL COVER THE SPREAD

The Saints are likely to face Mitchell Trubisky in this game as the starting quarterback for the Bears looks like he’ll be back. Trubisky has been injured the past few weeks and hasn’t been able to play but it’s not quite clear if his return is a good thing. He has just three touchdowns and two interceptions on the season but all of those three touchdowns came in one game. Daniel also had three touchdowns and two interceptions in the two starts he’s made.

Whoever is in charge, the Saints defense should be in good shape. The Saints defense has 18 sacks on the season (eighth-most) and is allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete just 61.9% of their passes (ninth in the NFL). Their run defense has given up just 80.5 rushing yards over the last four weeks, so it’s hard to see the Bears path to victory if they can’t run the ball effectively.

On offense, the Saints have to do what they’ve been doing: play smart, play for field position and take points when they get them. If they continue to avoid mistakes, they’ll probably win again.

WHY THE BEARS WILL COVER THE SPREAD

The Bears can cover here because they’re fresh off a bye after getting embarrassed in London by the Oakland Raiders. Their defense uncharacteristically couldn’t get any key stops and allowed rookie running back Josh Jacobs to run wild for 123 yards and a pair of touchdowns. With a bye week to clean up the mistakes, they should look much better on Sunday.

The Bears don’t need to complicate things here as their game plan will be the same as New Orleans. They need to avoid turnovers, run the ball as best as they can and rely on their defense. The Saints look like they’ll be without Kamara and tight end Jared Cook, so the Bears should be in good shape. Keep in mind that New Orleans scored just 12 points in Week 4 and only 13 points in Week 6, but the Saints won because their defense played virtually flawless games. The Bears’ defense can overwhelm the Saints’ offense and win this game 16-10 or 13-7.

TAKING A LOOK AT THE TOTAL

The Bears have talked about working on big passing plays in the bye week but who knows if they’re able to execute them. They have the fourth-fewest passing plays of 20 yards or longer. Assuming that part of their offense doesn’t drastically change, we’re looking at two teams who plan to run the ball, play defense and avoid mistakes. That should bring us to an under unless a lot of whacky things happen.

PICK: BEARS 17, SAINTS 12

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