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Week 8 Game Preview: Oh When the Saints, Come Marching In!

| October 29th, 2020


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears…

…defense.


Definitive Week for Matt Nagy, Caller of Plays

A friend of mine works for the New Orleans Saints in their scouting department. When discussing this week’s game, and the prospect of Matt Nagy relinquishing the role of play caller, he noted, “If they can’t move the ball vs our secondary next week…then it’s really time.”

Last week, Mike Davis had 7 carries for 12 yards against the Saints front. Let me just repeat that. Mike Davis, the starting running back for the Carolina Panthers, had 7 carries. For 12 yards. (New Orleans is the fourth-ranked rush defense in the league.) One would think that such a porous running game would have made it impossible for Teddy Bridgewater to execute the passing attack. But the opposite was true. Bridgewater – who pitched to a quarterback rating of about 50 against the Bears – was nearly perfect against the Saints. 23-28. 254 yards. 2 touchdowns. QB rating of 128.3.

You don’t need a running game to move the ball and score points on these Saints. And that’s good. Because the Bears don’t have one. If Nagy can’t draw up production from the passing game this week, it would be very difficult to see him calling the plays against the Tennessee Titans next week.


Nine Favorite Films of 1979, the Year of Drew’s Birth

(9) Monty Python’s Life of Brian

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(8) The Jerk

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(7) …And Justice For All

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(6) Being There

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(5) Apocalypse Now

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(4) The Muppet Movie

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(3) The In-Laws

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(2) Manhattan

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(1) All That Jazz


Four More Thoughts on the Saints

  • Drew Brees is not the same quarterback in conditions and Chicago is expecting temperatures in the 30s Sunday, with possibly extreme winds. (A twitter follower actually let me know this is the first outdoor game for Brees this season, somehow.) Don’t expect Sean Payton to stretch the field with the passing game.
  • If the Saints win the division, Alvin Kamara is going to receive MVP votes. With Michael Thomas ailing, Kamara has fueled just about everything this team does and that won’t change Sunday. Just look at the season he’s putting together.
    • 75 carries, 364 yards, 4.9 per carry, 4 touchdowns.
    • 46 catches, 460 yards, 10 per catch, 3 touchdowns.
  • The opposing passer rating against New Orleans is 111.6. That’s more than 33 points worse than Chicago. They’re not particularly good at pressuring the quarterback or covering downfield. If the Bears waste early down gaining 2 yards on the ground, that’s completely on them.
  • Player you may not know: Trey Hendrickson. He looks and plays like a long, lost Watt brother. Don’t be surprised if he gets to Foles a few times.
  • Allen Robinson in the concussion protocol means the time is now for Anthony Miller. If Robinson can’t go, Miller must produce at starter level.

Haiku

A breeze is blowing,

Cold, cold air off the lakefront.

It’s me. Bear weather.


New Feature: Bears on the Hot Seat

Defense. Roquan Smith. Smith has had a very good season. But criticism is warranted because Smith should be held to a high standard. It seems almost weekly Roq bursts unblocked through a hole, crashes into a running back, and then lies on the ground as the back runs for 5-7 yards. Enough. This is a game where stopping the run likely means a victory. When big plays are there to be made, Roq has to make them.

Offense. Nick Foles. Reading defenses and being a leader only get you so far in the NFL. It’s time for Foles to start producing at the position and this is a secondary that allows every opposing quarterback to do just that. If Foles can’t manage 250 yards and a couple of touchdowns Sunday, really, what are we doing here?


Game Prediction

Nagy rebounds. Foles plays his first complete game of the season. The Saints have success running the ball but falter in the red zone.

Chicago Bears 24, New Orleans Saints 17

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