The Bears and the New Orleans Saints will meet at Soldier Field for the second consecutive season. This time the Saints should have quarterback Drew Brees, unlike last year when Teddy Bridgewater had to fill in.
The Bears defense allowed 424 total yards of offense that day, even without Brees playing. The 2020 Bears are reeling from a 24-10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Here are three things to know about the New Orleans Saints:
The Bears could avoid Saints WR Michael Thomas
The Bears have already avoided many of their opponents’ best weapons: Detroit’s Kenny Golladay and Atlanta’s Julio Jones, to name a few. An ankle sprain has kept Thomas on the sidelines since the season opener, and then a hamstring injury in practice last week cast his status into further doubt.
Brees has been operating without his top target during that time, and the Saints could really use him. Thomas, the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2019, is the type of player who could take the Saints from a good offense (ranked 11th in total yards per game and ninth in passing yards per game) to an elite offense.
According to a report over the weekend from ESPN, the new hamstring injury was bad enough to require an MRI, and there’s a real chance Thomas might miss Sunday’s game against the Bears.
Surprise, surprise: It’s another tough rushing defense
Make no mistake, the Saints have had some issues defensively. They’re allowing 238.7 passing yards per game (ranked 17th) and 7.2 passing yards per play (21st). But they’ve been stout in stopping the run.
The Saints rushing defense is allowing 89.7 yards per game (ranked fourth) and 3.47 yards per play (third)
That’s not what the Bears need right now. With a struggling offensive line and the NFL’s worst rushing offense (84.1 yards per game ranks 32nd), the Bears could be in for another long afternoon in the run game.
Alvin does it all
With Thomas out, even more emphasis has been placed on three-time Pro Bowl running back Alvin Kamara. He has nearly twice as many all-purpose yards as any of his teammates. Kamara has combined for 364 rushing yards on 75 carries and 460 receiving yards on 46 receptions. Kamara has seven total touchdowns.
If Thomas is indeed out again this week, look for those trends to continue. No. 2 receiver Emmanuel Sanders also missed last week’s win over the Carolina Panthers due to a positive COVID-19 test. With both top receivers out last week, Kamara caught eight passes and totaled 14 carries.