The No. 2 New Orleans Saints (12-4) will host the No. 7 Chicago Bears (8-8) in the first round of the NFC playoffs on Sunday at 4:40 pm EST. New Orleans finished with the second-best record in the NFC, behind the Green Bay Packers. Sunday, the Saints will be making their fourth consecutive playoff appearance. Last season the Saints lost a 26-20 overtime game to the Minnesota Vikings in the wild card round. The Bears will be making just their second playoff appearance since 2010. In 2018, the Bears lost to the Eagles in the wild card round.
The Saints and Bears met in Chicago during week 8 of the regular season, and the Saints won 26-23 in overtime as a 5.5 point favorite.
Bears make playoffs with 8-8 record
The Bears’ three-game winning streak ended last Sunday with a 35-16 loss to Green Bay as a four-point dog. Despite losing, the Bears qualified for the final playoff spot due to Arizona losing 18-7 to the Los Angeles Rams.Although they lost by 19 points, the Bears outgained the Packers 356 to 316 in total yardage, 21 to 17 in first downs, and possessed the ball for 11 more minutes. Red zone efficiency, however, made a tremendous difference in the game. The Packers scored a touchdown on all four of their trips from inside the 20-yard line, while the Bears were just 1 of 5 on their red zone attempts. The Bears also committed two turnovers compared to just one for the Packers. Mitchell Tribusky completed 33 of 42 passes for 252 yards, with no touchdowns and an interception. David Montogomery led the rushing attack with 69 yards on 22 attempts in the defeat.
During the regular season, Chicago bounced back and forth between Nick Foles andMitchell Trubisky. Trubisky started the first three games of the season and also the last six games. Trubisky has a 61.8 QBR, 20th in the league, and has thrown 16 touchdowns against eight interceptions and 2,055 yards. The Bears running game is 25th, averaging 102.9 yards per game, led by David Montgomery, who has picked up 1,070 yards and eight touchdowns on 4.3 yards per attempt.
Chicago finished the regular season 22nd in the league, scoring 23.2 points per game and 26th with 331.4 yards of total offense. Defensively the Bears have allowed 23.1 ppg, which is 14th in the league, and 344.9 total yards per contest, ranking 11th. Against the run, the Bears are 15th, allowing 113.4 rushing yards, and 12th giving up 231.6 passing yards per game.
Saints legitimate Super Bowl contenders
After starting the season 1-2, the Saints won 11 of their last 13 games to secure the second seed in the NFC. New Orleans heads into the playoffs on a two-game winning streak, winning 52-33 against Minnesota on week 16 as a 6.5 point favorite and defeated Carolina 33-7 as a six-point favorite last Sunday.
The Saints outgained the Panthers 347 to 320 in total yardage and 20 to 17 in first downs in their latest win. The shining difference was the Panthers’ five turnovers compared to zero for the Saints, which led to the rout. New Orleans also scored touchdowns on four of their five red-zone possessions, compared to just 1 of 4 for the Panthers. Drew Brees went 22 of 32 for the game for 201 yards with three touchdowns and Ty Montgomery rushed for 105 yards on 18 carries. Montogomery, who was filling in for Alvin Kamara, who was sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19, only had one carry all season prior to Sunday’s game.
On the season, Drew Brees has started 12 games and ranks sixth in the NFL with a 74.5 QBR. Brees has thrown for 2,942 yards with 24 touchdowns and six interceptions. Alvin Kamara, who missed the regular-season finale, led the team with 932 rushing yards and 756 receiving yards on 83 catches. Kamara rushed for 16 touchdowns, and five touchdown catches. Although Kamara’s availability for Sunday has not been officially confirmed, he did tweet on Thursday night, “See y’all Sunday.”
The Saints are fifth in the league averaging 30.1 ppg, but 12th with 376.4 yards per contest. New Orleans is sixth with 141.6 rushing yards and 19th with 234.9 passing yards per game. On defense, the Saints are fifth, allowing 21.1 ppg and 217 passing yards per game. They are fourth, allowing 310.9 total yards per game and 93.9 rushing yards.