The Chicago Bears defense needs to step up in the red zone
Throughout the Bears' first eight contests, it is clear that the defense has a long way to go, particularly in the red zone, an area that will likely be put to the test this weekend versus the Saints. Across the entire NFL, the Bears possess the worst red zone defense in terms of touchdown conversion ratio, and their averages have actually gotten worse in recent weeks, headlined by a terrible performance against the Chargers, who converted all of their red zone opportunities into touchdowns.
Fortunately, help is on the way for the Chicago Bears defense, who will be joined by former Washington Commander edge rusher Montez Sweat, who was recently acquired for a second-round pick and received a four-year contract extension on Saturday morning. Sadly, the defense will not be in full force for Sweat's debut, with both Tremaine Edmunds and Jaquan Brisker slated to miss the game in New Orleans. Still, Sweat's presence and ability on the edge could immediately help this unit get after the quarterback, but stopping the Saints on long drives could be a tall ask for a group that struggles near the goalline.
Currently, the Saints have 15 total offensive touchdowns, 14 of which came within the red zone, although the team is one of the worst across the league in the red zone with an approximately 42% conversation rate. Knowing that the Saints are not particularly equipped to score on big plays, the Bears may rely on a bend-don't-break defensive philosophy, which would require the unit to create sacks and turnovers in the red zone.
If the Bears can consistently hold the Saints to three points instead of seven, it would be a massive step in making the team's offensive mission a lot simpler to accomplish.