Chicago Bears: 5 things to expect in Sunday’s playoff matchup.
By Nathan Burns
The Chicago Bears defense will finally come away with some turnovers
Expectation No. 2: The Bears defense will force two turnovers vs the Saints
The Saints have one of the best offensive tackle duos in the league with Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk. The Chicago Bears need Khalil Mack and company to have a monster game. Jaylon Johnson is hopeful to return to action. The Bears may be without star Roquan Smith though and that would be a devastating blow for them. I expect the game to come down to the final drive for the Saints, and the Bears will force a turnover.
The Chicago Bears will bring pressure and get three-plus sacks. Believe me, I’m one of the biggest critiques of the Bear’s “big bad” defense. I think they are completely overrated but I think they will show up big time on Sunday. The Saints gave up two sacks to the Panthers in their final game. Before that, the Saints only allowed one sack to the Chiefs while holding Minnesota without a single one.
Chuck Pagano has been hearing the chatter for his head. He must make something happen and I believe this will be the game to do it. Kyle Fuller and Jaylon Johnson will have their hands full with Michael Thomas. If the Bears can contain Alvin Kamara, it might be a long game for Drew Brees. The Bears have had two sacks combined the last two games. Expect them to at least double that number this game.
Expectation No. 3: Jimmy Graham will get a key touchdown — maybe even two
People can say what they want about Jimmy Graham but he has exceeded many of the expectations that anyone had for him on the Bears. He leads the team in touchdowns (8) and also finished the year with 50 receptions. A 456 Ι 50 8 stat line for a tight end is pretty dang good.
The 456 yards are a little low, but the third highest in the league belongs to T.J. Hockeson with 723. The tight end game has been on a different tier if your name isn’t Travis Kelce or George Kittle. I expect the Bears to target Graham early in the red zone one and make that one of the top priorities for the game.
Chicago Bears kicker, Cairo Santos will not repeat the double-doink
Expectation No. 4: Cairo Santos will continue to impress, but will miss one on Sunday
The Chicago Bears kicker has made 26 in a row and just set the franchise record for most consecutive field goals in a single-season (25). Unfortunately, I believe this week will be when that streak will end. Santos hasn’t played in a playoff game since 2016. The Bears are a heavy underdog and with being on the road, Santos might have some extra nerves in his leg. I predict that he will go 3/4 and go perfect on his extra-point attempts.
Expectation No. 5: Mitch Trubisky has a strong performance vs the Saints
Mitch Trubisky will use his legs and have 30-plus rushing yards and a touchdown on Sunday. With that, he will also have 260 passing yards and two passing touchdowns. The Chicago Bears need to keep utilizing him in the right way and stick with what he’s comfortable with doing.
I am anticipating a solid game from Trubisky. (The Bears need to get rid of him the first chance they get) I’ve never been a big Trubisky supporter but he has been playing pretty well lately. I don’t think it’s enough to give him a new deal, but others might defiantly disagree.
Score Prediction: Bears 34 Saints 30
If half of these things happen, I’ll be happy. The odds are that more than half must happen if the Bears want to take home the win. If this is the last in-season article, then I want to thank all of you for the read and feedback over the season.