With or without Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints will look to keep rolling this week when they head to the Windy City to take on the Chicago Bears. Kickoff is set for 4:25 EST on Sunday, October 20 at Soldier Field in Chicago. Fans throughout most of the country will be able to watch the game on Fox.
Based on the Week 7 NFL odds, the Bears are 3-point favorites at home. The over/under for the game is set at 38 points.
Going against what most people expected, the Saints have won four straight games since losing Brees to a thumb injury. Some games they’ve won with their offense like a 31-24 victory over the Bucs two weeks ago. On the other hand, some games they’ve won with their defense, including last week’s 13-6 road win over the Jaguars. No matter how they’ve done it, all that matters is the Saints are 5-1 and sitting atop the NFC South standings.
In addition to being in first place, Brees is likely to only miss one or two more games before being ready to return. The Saints also have a favorable schedule between now and the end of November. This week’s game in Chicago is probably the most difficult game New Orleans has until after Thanksgiving. With a win on Sunday, the Saints will have a chance to double their four-game winning streak by this time next month.
The Bears, meanwhile, had last week off to recover from their disappointing loss to the Raiders in London two weeks ago. In fairness, Chicago had to play that game with backup Chase Daniel in place of Mitchell Trubisky. The good news is that Trubisky is on track to play on Sunday.
The bad news is that any loss is a big deal when you play in the NFC North. The Bears head into Week 7 two full games behind the Packers and half a game behind the Vikings. They’ll get a chance to face those teams head-to-head in December. But until then, the Bears need to stay within striking distance, making home games with the Saints and Chargers the next two weeks of the utmost importance to their playoff hopes.
With or without Brees, how is anyone supposed to pick against the Saints these days? They’ve proven they can win with either their offense or defense leading the way. They’ve also proven that they can win on the road. Quite frankly, I’m a little surprised the Bears are being favored by a field goal. But that just makes it easier to lean toward the Saints as underdogs.
Oddsmakers no doubt list the Bears as favorites because of their defense. But the New Orleans defense has been nearly as good in recent weeks. Over their last three games, the Saints are giving up less than 250 yards per game. The Bucs may have put up 24 points a couple of weeks ago, but the Saints held both the Cowboys and Jaguars to 10 points or less. The New Orleans pass rush is coming along and making the entire look a lot closer to what we saw at the end of last season and what we expected to see this season.
Meanwhile, I have plenty of concerns about the Chicago offense, even if Trubisky returns from injury. Whether it’s been Trubisky or Daniel, the Bears are near the bottom of the NFL in passing yards. That wasn’t a problem last season, but it’s an issue this year because the Chicago rushing attack isn’t nearly as potent as it was in 2018. Outside of their outburst against the lowly Redskins, the Bears are averaging just 14 points per game this season.
Keep in mind that the Saints have held three straight teams under 100 yards rushing. They’ve held both Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette in check during that time. With that in mind, I’m not banking on David Montgomery having much success this week. With key offensive lineman Kyle Long going on IR this week and Trubisky’s shoulder not quite at 100%, Chicago’s offense could be in for a long day.
For the Bears, this game could be all on their defense. In fairness, the Bears have allowed just 16 total points in their two home games this year. The Saints also have some concern with Alvin Kamara, Tre’Quan Smith, and Jared Cook all listed as questionable. However, Latavius Murray has been a suitable backup this season. Teddy Bridgewater has also completed over 70% of his passes in his four starts, so he’s been efficient and trustworthy. The Saints also have the best skill player on the field in Michael Thomas, who has at least 89 receiving yards in all but one game this season.
All things considered, the under may be the best bet in this game because both defenses are likely to have their way against the opposing team’s offense. But against the spread, I like the Saints. As much as I respect the Chicago defense, especially at home, I don’t think the Bears can score enough points to secure a win and cover the spread. I favor the Saints to win their fifth in a row.