The 5-8 Saints travel to Chicago to face off against the 5-8 Bears this week as both teams are struggling badly. The Saints lost last week in embarrassing fashion at home 41-10 to the Carolina Panthers, while the Bears lost 41-28 at home to the Dallas Cowboys. The Bears not only lost the game and any chance at making the playoffs, they also lost star wide receiver Brandon Marshall for the year to rib and lung injuries he sustained. The Saints have lost 3 of their past 4 games with all 3 losses coming at home where they used to be unbeatable. The Bears have dropped 2 of their past 4 but have lost the last 2 and will have to finish the year without their biggest offense weapon due to injuries.
Believe it or not, the Saints are still in playoff contention despite their record thanks to playing in a very weak division. They are tied for first place in the NFC South with the Atlanta Falcons and still have meaningful football games left to play. While Drew Brees and the offense aren’t having a great year, it has been the defense that has been really hurting them. In their last 4 games, the defense has given up an average of 33 points per game while allowing the opposing teams to average 472 yards of offensive against them. Luckily for the Saints, the Bears will be without their top receiver and Jay Cutler has been very turn-over prone by throwing 5 interceptions over the last 4 games.
The Bears will be missing out on the playoffs for the fourth straight year with both their defense and offense sharing the blame. In their last 2 games, both losses, the defense has allowed 75 points and their offense simply couldn’t keep up. The Bears defense has given up at least 30 points 6 times this season and gave up more than 50 twice. They will also be without starting middle linebacker D.J. Williams due to a neck injury. Jay Cutler is tied for the league lead with 6 fumbles and is tied for second in the league with 15 interceptions. The Saints run defense has allowed an average of 184 rushing yards per game over their last 5 games but the Bears rushing game, led by reliable Matt Forte has surprisingly only managed to rush for a combined 48 yards over the past 2 games.
Although this is a home game for the Bears, the Saints are happy to get away from the Superdome as they have lost their last 4 home games which is the longest home losing streak since Sean Payton has been head coach. Both of these teams are very unpredictable, but with the playoffs still in their sights and the Bears missing key players on both sides of the ball due to injury, the Saints should get back on track and beat the struggling Bears by at least a field goal.
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