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Week 9 game preview: Bears-Saints

The Bears travel down to New Orleans to try and win with their backup QB again.

New Orleans Saints v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears won half of their games in the month of October, which is really positive.

But it’s a new month and now the Bears get to go to New Orleans for the Saints.

The Saints aren’t great, but they’re a scrappy team with a good defense.

New Orleans Saints

SB Nation site: Canal Street Chronicles

Record: 4-4, first in the NFC South

Last week: 38-27 win over the Indianapolis Colts

Game day, time, TV: Sunday, noon CT, FOX

Spread: According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Saints are 8.5-point favorites over the Bears. The total is set at 41.

Bears all-time record against: 15-18 (including 2-1 postseason)

Historical meetings: Week 9, Nov. 6, 2005. The Bears met the Saints at Tiger Stadium on LSU’s campus (remember this was post Hurricane Katrina).

The Bears used a balanced attack led by the ground game of Thomas Jones (11 att./40 yds.), Adrian Peterson (6/58/1) and Cedric Benson (14/79) and Kyle Orton’s passing (12 of 26/137 yds./1 TD/2 INT) to stay with the Saints in a back and forth game.

Aaron Brooks rushed the ball in for a touchdown to tie the game at 17 with 7:52 left in the fourth quarter. The Bears went three and out and then forced the Saints to go three and out on the subsequent possession.

With a touch over four minutes left, the Chicago drove down the field 65 yards on 10 plays, highlighted by a 22-yard Benson run and an Orton-to-Mushin Muhammad 22-yard pass on third and five.

Robbie Gould nailed a 28-yard field goal with 10 seconds left to give the Bears a 20-17 win.

Last meeting: The Bears and Saints last met on Jan. 10, 2021, during the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

The 8-8 Bears were the last team in and drew the 2-seed 12-4 Saints.

The Saints really controlled the game the whole time. The Bears showed some life but Javon Wims dropped a would-be touchdown in the endzone from Mitch Trubisky and after that it felt like it wasn’t going to happen.

Three points was all that Chicago could muster until the very last play of the game when Trubisky hit Jimmy Graham for a touchdown as time expired.

That was the last Bears playoff experience. They lost 21-9.

Injury report: The Saints listed 10 players on their Wednesday injury report. Nine were limited or not participating in practice.

Did not participate

  • LB Ty Summers (concussion/hamstring)
  • WR Lynn Bowden (illness)

Limited participation

  • WR Michael Thomas (rest/illness)
  • G Andrus Peat (ankle)
  • QB Taysom Hill (hip)
  • TE Jimmy Graham (rest)
  • OT Ryan Ramczyk (rest)
  • G James Hurst (ankle)
  • OLB Demario Davis (knee)

Offense: The Saints offense comes in ranked 17th in points and 12th in yards.

Their passing offense ranks ninth and their rushing offense ranks 20th.

Derek Carr (64.5 pct. cmp./1,910 yds./8 TD/4 INT) is playing Derek Carr football. Not blowing anyone away, but not horribly.

The Saints do have receiving weapons in Chris Olave (44 rec./517 yds./1 TD), Michael Thomas (38/439/1), Alvin Kamara (39/228/1) and speedster Rashid Shaheed (23/479//3).

On the ground, this is still Kamara’s (86 att./320 yds./2 TD) show. Taysom Hill (38/203/3) gets his package of plays, too. Jamaal Williams (38/118/0) is working his way back in since returning from a hamstring injury.

Tony Jones (21/70/2) has two touchdowns.

Defense: The Saints defense ranks ninth in points allowed and fifth in yards allowed.

Their passing offense ranks seventh and their rushing defense ranks 15th.

Leading Dennis Allen’s defense are Demario Davis (54 tkls/2 sk/3 PD/4 TFL/5 QB hits), Pete Werner (51 tkls/0.5 sk/1 INT/1 QB hit), Marshon Lattimore (41 tkls/1 INT/8 PD/2 TFL), Paulson Adebo (2 INT/8 PD/1 FF/1 FR/20 tkls), and Tyrann Mathieu (1 INT/3 PD/30 tkls).

Up font, Carl Granderson (5.5 sk/1 FF/12 QB hits/9 TFL) is getting a lot of the sacks, but Davis, Nathan Shepherd (2 sk/4 TFL/5 QB hits) and Cameron Jordan (1 sk/1 TFL/4 QB hits) are also rushing opponents.

Key match-ups: The Bears best chance here is to muck it up and grind out a defensive win.

The Saints have a tough defense and is a top-10 unit against the pass. Tyson Bagent needs to be smart with the football. If the Bears can protect him and the football, the ground game could find some running room and keep them in the game.

On defense, get after Carr. I don’t know if Montez Sweat is going to be full go on just a couple days of practice, but use what you have to pressure Carr. He doesn’t take a ton of deep shots, so if you pressure him, take away the short passing game and contain Kamara, he will fold.

Key stats

  • The Saints are the second-best third down defense, allowing just 32.4 percent of oppoents’ third downs.
  • The Bears have more passing touchdowns than the Saints.
  • Chicago also has more overall offensive touchdowns (19 to 15) than New Orleans.
  • The Saints have just five more sacks than the Bears. Their pressure percentage is 24th (20.1 percent).
  • The Saints blitz the 25th-most in the league.
  • Saints QBs have been sacked the 11th-most times in the league.
  • The Saints are last in yards per rushing attempt.
  • New Orleans is allowing 4.3 yards per rushing attempt against them.

What do the Bears need to do to win in New Orleans Sunday? Can they get a big road upset?