The Bears welcome the 4-0 Saints to Soldier Field coming off a dismal performance last week at Detroit. Jay Cutler had his worst performance of the season. The offense had too many turnovers, allowed three sacks and let the Detroit defense give their offense great field positions. To stay with the Saints, they are going to need a bounce back performance at home. After hosting the Giants thursday night they only have two games until December 9. Here is what the Bears need to do to upset the Saints.
Offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer will face his old team for the first time. With head coach Sean Payton suspended last season, Kromer and Joe Vitt led the Saints to a 7-9 season.
Protect the Quarterback
The Bears rank third in the NFL with just six sacks allowed in the first four weeks. The rebuilt offensive line will need to need to protect Cutler in a game that will likely be a shootout. The Saints rank 12th in the NFL with 12 sacks. The Saints' Cameron Jordan is seventh in the NFL with four sacks. Junior Galette has three and seven different Saints have sacks.
Generate a Pass Rush
The Bears pass rush has been nearly non-existent this season. With only six sacks, the Bears are 30th in the NFL. The Bears have also given up the tenth most passing yards against the Saints' second ranked passing offense. The Bears needs to get Julius Peppers going. Peppers only has five tackles, three assists and one sack through the first four weeks. He did add in a touchdown at Pittsburgh. He hasn't been played up to the Pro Bowl level expected of him throughout his career. He could be the Bears most important player defensively against Drew Brees.
Slow the Saints Down
There are many ways the Bears need to do this. All chips on the table. The offense needs to keep the ball and convert on third down, the defense needs to generate a pass rush and make the Saints run the football. The special teams will also play a key role. Field positions on both sides of the ball will be extremely important.
After a dismal performance last week, the Bears fell to 21st in third down percentage. The Bears went 1-13 on third down last week. Conversely the defense held Detroit to 2-10.
The Saints have succeeded in the Payton era without a strong running game. They currently rank 25th in yards per carry and 26th in yards per game.
Adam Podlesh has struggled this season, but will remain the punter for another week after the Bears tried out several punters this week.
Win the Battle of the Special Teams
Podlesh ranks 25th in average at 43.5 yards per punt and they are 26th as a team in net yards punting. Letting Darren Sproles break loose on punt returns will give Drew Brees prime field position. They don't want to allow Brees and the Saints a short field. The same goes for kickoff returns.
Devin Hester is having a bounce back season. Marc Trestman has had Hester focus solely on kick returns. The Bears rank fourth in the NFL at 28.6 yards per return. They rank first with 12 returns over 20 yards and three over 40. Hester has yet to break one for a touchdown this year, but he's due.
Win the Turnover Battle
Under new defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, the Bears have continued to be an aggressive team that forces turnovers. The Bears six interceptions rank sixth in the NFL and they are first in forced fumbles with six. The Saints have had nine turnovers in their last three trips to Soldier Field.
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