Chicago Bears: Three Keys to Upsetting the Saints
With the NFL Wild Card Weekend upon us, and Sunday only a day away, we have plenty of games to look forward to on both days. One of which being the Chicago Bears @ New Orleans Saints. The Bears are definitely the underdogs coming into this game as the 7th seed, going up against the 2nd seed. With that said, the Bears could have a chance at taking home a win, if they can do some or all of these key points.
Keep Running the Ball Well
In the last few weeks, we have been seeing some real proficient running by David Montgomery. He has gotten touchdowns in all 5 of his last games, and has really looked like he was worth the 3rd round pick a year ago. Last time he played against the Saints, he had a relatively good game, his stats looking like this:
- 21 rushes for 89 yards and 0 touchdowns
- 2 receptions for 16 yards
This is a pretty tame game compared to his recent outings however, where he has had multiple 100 yard rushing games and a touchdown each game it seems. I believe this is likely due in part to Mitchell Trubisky being moved to the starting QB position instead of Nick Foles, so the offense is more rushing based. Keeping the ball on the ground and actually getting chunks of yards against the stout front-7 of the Saints will be difficult. However if they can get the ball rolling that way, the defense will start to lighten up a bit the more they get rushed on.
Exploit the Saints Secondary
This point is big time, and I referred to it in what the Saints keys are as well. The Saints secondary is so unbelievably inconsistent at times that it really is a big weakness in their playoff run. Getting receivers like Allen Robinson II, Darnell Mooney (if he plays), and Anthony Miller into the open field will be big time in helping Trubisky play. Being able to limit any Trubisky turnovers will come down to how much separation the Bears receivers can get against that secondary.
Getting the tight ends involved in the game with Jimmy Graham and Cole Kmet will also be an important piece of the puzzle. The Saints secondary has struggled to keep tight ends in check at times, like we saw in Week 2 with Darren Waller, or in Week 3 with Robert Tonyan Jr. Darren Waller with 12 receptions for 105 yards, a touchdown, and 75% catch rate. If they can get this type or similar production from Kmet and Graham, that would hugely help the offense in scoring.
Also, playing against the safeties will be something to try out. With Marcus Williams coming off an injury, and Malcolm Jenkins being a strong side safety, going to the 2nd or 3rd options will be a key in this game for sure.
Send the Bears Style Pass Rush at Brees
The Saints offensive line is one of the better ones in the league, which is crucial for Drew Brees and him getting the ball out on time. If Akiem Hicks and Khalil Mack can get into that pocket space and rattle Brees, it will be huge defensively. This will make the job of the secondary even easier, as Brees may take some passes that are more or less a bad choice. We saw 2 weeks ago Brees throw 2 interceptions against a relatively banged up Minnesota Vikings defense. If the Bears front 7 can force him to make questionable throws like that, it could force quite a few turnovers.
The main reason this is important is it will keep the Chicago Bears rushing style offense on the field more often. This will give the Saints less time to get into the endzone, and keep this a purely defensive matchup. The only thing this creates an issue for is if the Saints run screen plays or pitches. Then you would have a majority of your lineman crashing the o-line, and not watching for Alvin Kamara around the edge. They will need to keep a linebacker in the backfield more than likely as a RB spy of sorts to handle Kamara, which is no easy task. This will probably be Roquan Smith if he plays, if not then Danny Trevathan.
Overall, this game will come down to the Chicago Bears having to play a near perfect game to win it. Will that happen? That is yet to be seen. It definitely could happen if they have some great play calling from Matt Nagy, and good production on both sides of the ball. Will the Bears be able to pull off the upset? We will see soon enough. But for now, they need to worry about getting the playcalling right.
What do you think the Chicago Bears need to do to come out on top? Leave a comment down below and let me know!
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