“The 9th Wonder”

Intriguing Game- Week Eight

New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears

Saints: They’ve been quietly going about business. Since that week three loss to the Green Bay Packers, they have won three games in a row. For the last month or so, I’ve seen people on social media complain or say the quarterback has lost his arm strength. I’m not going all that far. Michael Thomas is their best vertical threat down the field without question. Drew hasn’t been on the same page with his other weapons to push the ball down the field vertically. So what does Sean Payton dial-up? More of an intermediate passing attack and it’s worked. The shining point of this offense has been Alvin Kamara. He impacts the game as a runner and receiver. What concerns me about the Saints is their defense. Especially the secondary because they lack basic football fundamentals. They’ll take a trip to Chicago on Sunday.

Bears: I’ve been looking for a professional way to say this. I think I have it. How is it that Matt Nagy is supposed to be a disciple of Andy Reid an offensive-minded coach, but can’t put any creativity into his play calling? He needs to give up the play-calling duties and just focus on being a head coach. When you’re the head guy, you must focus on the entire team, not one aspect. The Bears looked horrible on Monday night. As a former defensive player myself, I’d be excited to play their offense because I’d know what’s coming. Meanwhile, the defense has been the shining point of the entire team. Wouldn’t it be nice if the offense could sustain a long drive to take pressure away from them? They’re back home Sunday.

Saints X-Factor: Latavius Murray– The Bears struggle to stop the run. I also see their defense putting so much focus on Alvin that they’ll forget they have another running back that can get those hard-fought yards. Watch when the Saints move Alvin in motion with Latavius on the field. He’s getting the ball.

Bears X-Factor: Roquan Smith– Because of the attention Akiem Hicks and Khalil Mack receive, it allows these Bears linebackers to roam around freely. I loved Roquan in college. Whether you need him to rush the passer or make a tackle, he gets to it. I see Pagano sending him on a blitz here and there.

Final Thoughts: These teams met last year and the Saints handled business without Brees. Here they are a year later again. Seeing Alvin against the Bears defense will be a battle. Getting to him before he can get out in space is key for them. I need to see more discipline from the Saints defense, especially in the secondary. We’ll see what the Bears offense does here.

Prediction: Saints 26 Bears 17

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