The Chicago Bears are 5-5 lifetime against the New Orleans Saints on the road, but haven’t played in Louisiana since 2005 when they won, 20-17. That game saw four field goals, 316 yards rushing (183 by the Bears) and only 307 yards through the air (137 by the Bears) at LSU Tiger Stadium. Don’t expect another game like that this year.
The Bears and Saints feature pass heavy offenses, which should lead to a very high scoring, high yardage game. That being said, the Bears defense will have to create turnovers and keep the damage to a minimum if they want to beat Drew Brees. Let’s take a look at some keys to a Bears victory in Week 2.
Everyone knows that the Superdome is loud. But add to that thousands of screaming Bears fans (including some of the BearGogglesOn staff), and it’s going to be like you’re standing next to a raging jet engine all game. The Bears will need to do a good job of confusing Brees on defense and not allowing him to change up the plays. The noise should help with the confusion. Keep Brees guessing. If Rod Marinelli and Brian Urlacher can get the Saints offense out of sync, it will be a cakewalk down Bourbon Street.
Open the Screen Door
The Bears have quickly become known as one of the best screen teams in the league. Matt Forte and Devin Hester both stretched short screen passes into 50+ yard gains last week against the Falcons. Jay Cutler is going to need to use the screen effectively again to open up the field. The Saints have some injuries in their secondary, which should allow speedsters like Johnny Knox and Hester to be open down the field. Or they will attract extra defenders, leaving the screen pass open. My recommendation is to leave the screen door open all day.
Black and Blue, and Red All Over
The Bears settled for two field goals inside of the Falcons’ 10-yard line last week. That will not fly against the Saints. This will be a game where a missed touchdown can lead to seven going the other way. Plain and simple, whoever scores more touchdowns is going to win. Field goals are almost as good as turnovers.
Drew Brees, Say Hello to My Little Friend Julthony Melonije
There is nothing little about the Bears defensive line and they will have to get to know Drew Brees intimately, if the Bears are going to take home a victory. Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije will need to do what they do best to contain and put the pressure on Brees.
In the middle, if Henry Melton and Anthony Adams can’t lay a hand on Brees, they will need to, at least, get their arms up on every play. The more time Brees has to survey the field, the more open guys he is going to find; I don’t care if he is throwing to the Keebler Elves. The more times the Bears can hit (not necessarily sack) Brees, the better. The legendary boxer, Joe Frazier, once said, “Kill the body and the head will die.”
He’s Going the Distance, He’s Going for Speed
By “He,” I mean Devin Hester. He is going to get some chances to return kicks and every one is important. The Green Bay Packers returned a kick for a TD last week against the Saints, and they won the game by one touchdown. Coincidence? On the opposite side of the ball, the Bears will need to slow down Darren Sproles, who is a great returner. Win the field position battle and the game will follow.
There you have it. Confuse Brees, execute the screen, score in the red zone, pressure the quarterback and win the special teams battle. If the Bears can follow that game plan, the Saints will go marching home as losers. Go Bears!