1-0. 1/3 of the toughest leg of the 2011 schedule in the books. Can the Bears improve on their terrific Week One effort and come home to face the Packers undefeated? I think so.
WHY DO I LIKE THE CHICAGO BEARS THIS WEEK?
- I always like the Chicago Bears.
- The Saints are missing Marques Colston. Colston is the kind of big, physical receiver that easily slides into the space against our zone and is capable of having a 10 or 11 catch game. Without him they will need to be reliant on Henderson or Meachem to pick up the slack and they are simply not the same caliber.
- The Saints are missing Will Smith. Smith is their best edge rusher and his absence will force defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to dial up more blitzes than he'd probably want to. If Williams commits too many men to his blitz packages the quick out and screen will be even more effective than they were a week ago.
- New Orleans right tackle Zach Strief had his hands full with Clay Matthews coming off the edge in Week One. It doesn't get easier for him this this week. I expect the Bears to park Julius Peppers over Strief all game long and I expect to Drew Brees to feel why.
- Here are the Saints advantages as I see them: (1) Drew Brees does not expect to open the season with two consecutive losses. (2) Jimmy Graham is a fast, durable tight end and should be able to have a pretty good day against the LoveRod. (3) The game is being played in a dome so I expect Devin Hester to be somewhat nullified on kickoff returns by touchbacks.
- I don't, however, see the dome turf as an advantage for the home team. These Bears, whether traditionalists want to admit it or not, are built to play on turf. They are fast at almost every position and they want their receivers running longer-type routes and making quick cuts. I think the Bears offense will improve inside the dome.
- The Brian Urlacher factor. Players being flung onto the football field by an emotional catapult can go either way but I think Urlacher will use the passing of his mother this week to do best what he does best: play linebacker. I think the other fellas who play on the Bears defense will rally behind him.
- I think Jay Cutler is going to be one of the five best quarterbacks in the league this year and I think he's going to make a big statement Sunday.
Chicago Bears 34, New Orleans Saints 21
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