The New Orleans Saints are suddenly the complete team all of a sudden, bringing back the defense they’ve lost over the years since winning the Super Bowl. The Chicago Bears, despite the promising start, find themselves with a banged up D and a quarterback that once again looks like someone who can ruin their playoff hopes.
Jay Cutler has already thrown six interceptions this season. He has delivered game winning drives and last second touchdown passes, but the Bears rely so much on his ability to evolve beyond the mistake-prone quarterback he has always been, into someone that relies on short passes and his running game, avoiding those big throws he keeps trapping himself into.
One problem has been avoiding the pressure, even with the improved offensive line. The Saints’ defense is one of the best in the NFL when it comes to getting to the quarterback, notching up 12 sacks so far this season, with Cameron Jordan leading the team with 4 sacks, followed by Junior Galette with 3.
Without a running game (Saints running for only 81 yards per game), the Drew Brees attack franchise doesn’t seem to be faltering, only changing and evolving. Brees’ main targets this season haven’t been wide receivers, but his tight end Jimmy Graham and running back or multi-tasker Darren Sproles.
Graham is leading the team with 27 receptions, 458 yards and six touchdown catches, which place him at the top or near it of most statistical categories for all receivers, not just tight ends. Marques Colston with 21 receptions for 298 yards and a touchdown is doing well as usual, but he is only a third option.
The Bears have more than just Brandon Marshall to rely on in the passing game, with Alshon Jeffery bringing a much needed help along with Martellus Bennett, but the Bears need to give Matt Forte the ball a bit more. He’s averaging 4.6 yards per carry, but they can help themselves by getting the ball out of Cutler’s hands, and running for more than 112 yards per game.
Prediction – Payton is 0-3 with the Saints at Soldier Field, the most recent of those matchups coming in 2008, but the Bears are in some sort of flux, and the Saints are the wrong team to help them get out of it. Saints stay perfect, while Chicago find out more bad things about this team.