NFL Week 2: Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints Preview
The last time these two teams met was in 2008 when the Bears came away with the victory 27-24 in overtime.
The last three matchups have taken place at Soldier Field. The Bears haven’t taken a trip to New Orleans since 2005.
The Bears are coming off a 30-12 victory over Atlanta. This is the second straight week the Bears will play a team that is from the NFC South and was a playoff team from last year.
The Saints opened up their season on Thursday night of Week One falling to the Super Bowl champion Packers 42-34 in a shootout.
Many are expecting a shootout on Sunday at the Superdome, but the Bears aren’t looking for that kind of game.
The Saints will be without star WR Marques Colston and star DE Will Smith for this game. Expect a lot of disguised blitzes from Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. QB Drew Brees was dangerous at times against the Packers, but the defense was scorched by Aaron Rodgers and Co.
The Saints can be scary good on offense, but without Colston, tight end Jimmy Graham will have to take over the role of pass catcher.
Look for Mike Martz to call a solid game plan against a Saints defense that isn’t as good as advertised. The Bears will be without RB Marion Barber (calf), safety Chris Harris (hamstring) and guard Lance Louis (ankle). Also, WR Roy Williams is questionable with a groin injury.
The Bears will need to protect Cutler well. Chris Spencer will likely move in as the right guard after filling in for Louis in the second half of the game against Atlanta.
Chris Harris will be replaced by recently acquired Brandon Meriweather, who was used sparingly last week. Expect Craig Steltz to be used a little bit in the safety rotation as well.
With Roy Williams likely out, Johnny Knox will get a crack as a starting receiving once again. He caught three passes for 60 yards in last week’s win over the Falcons.
The Bears will rely heavily on RB Matt Forte in the running and passing games. The tight ends will be important once again in the blocking scheme, Kellen Davis needs to step it up because he slipped up a couple times on some key blocks.
Brian Urlacher will be on a mission after living through the death of his mother. He will want to take home the game ball for this Bears team on the road.
Look for Urlacher to be a monster on defense. The rest of the Bears defense might play more motivated with the bad fortune that Urlacher went through.
Players Who Must Step Up:
1) Israel Idonije- He didn’t do much in Week One, only recording three tackles. He will need to take the pressure off of Julius Peppers on the other side. With the return of Corey Wootton, Idonije will likely play better with “real” competition sitting behind him.
Projections: 5 tackles, one sack, one pass deflection.
2) Corey Graham- He recorded three tackles on special teams last week and he just seemed to get to the returner right away. He needs to be the Pro Bowl player that we expect he will be on Sunday. Saints scatback Darren Sproles is dangerous, the Bears know that and Graham will be a key to stopping that dangerous Saints return game.
Projections: 4 tackles.
3) Nick Roach- He played pretty well last week not making many mistakes. He only recorded two tackles, but I expect him to be a big part of the defense on Sunday. With Briggs and Urlacher likely to be extra hungry for the win, Roach could benefit from that.
Projections: 5 tackles, one interception.
Who will win?
Bears 30, Saints 24.
Expect a very good fought game by both teams. If it turns into a shootout, the Bears could be in trouble unless Mike Martz can work in his “Greatest Show On Turf” magic.
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