The NFC No. 2-seeded Saints host the No. 7 Bears for a wild-card showdown at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 10.
New Orleans (12-4) claimed the NFC South division title for the fourth consecutive season. Chicago (8-8) enters the game looking to become the sixth team to win a first-round game with a .500 record.
New Orleans opens as a 9.5-point favorite against Chicago.
How to watch:
Time: 4:40 pm ET
Television channel: CBS, Nickelodeon and Amazon Prime
Live broadcast: You can stream the NFL Wild Card Round game live on fuboTV (sign up for a free seven-day trial)
The Saints finished the regular season as the second-best team in the NFC behind the Green Bay Packers. Star running back Alvin Kamara, along with all the other Saints running backs, did not play in the team’s 33–7 win over the Carolina Panthers on Jan. 3 after Kamara tested positive for COVID-19 and was traced. of contacts. Kamara finished the regular season with 932 yards (14th in the league) on 187 carries with 21 touchdowns (16 rushing, five receiving). He is expected to play on Sunday after ending his quarantine.
Quarterback Drew Brees finished the regular season with 2,942 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions. In 16 playoff games, he is 8-8 overall and 6-3 in the home configuration. In the last meeting between the two teams, the Saints posted a 26-23 overtime victory against the Bears in Week 8 at Soldier Field. Brees completed 31 of his 41 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns.
The Saints’ offense enters the game averaging 376.4 yards per game (12th in the league). Defensively, New Orleans ranks fourth in the league in yards allowed (310.9) and tied for third with nine turnovers. Saints defensive end Trey Hendrickson had 13.5 sacks in 15 regular-season games, tied for second in the NFL with Rams star Aaron Donald.
The Bears finished second behind the NFC-leading Green Bay Packers. Chicago returns to the playoffs for the first time since the 2018 season, when the Bears were eliminated in a 16-15 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the wild-card round on January 6, 2019.
Chicago will depend on quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to help the franchise achieve its 18th playoff victory and third wild-card round victory in franchise history. Trubisky makes his second playoff appearance in three seasons. Only three quarterbacks in Bears history have done so since 1970. In Trubisky’s only postseason game, he threw for 303 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles.
In the regular season, Trubisky threw for 2,055 yards, 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 10 games. The Bears are 3-2 in the last five games, most recently losing to the Packers in their season finale. In those five games, Trubisky threw seven touchdowns and three interceptions.
The Bears also need to incorporate running back David Montgomery into Sunday’s game. Montgomery ranks fifth in the league with 1,508 yards of hitting. He rushed for 89 yards on 21 carries in his first game against the Saints this season.
Chicago should be ready to play defense on Sunday, too. The Bears enter the game 11th in the league in total yards allowed. Linebacker Khalil Mack leads the team in sacks and is one of only two players in the league with more than eight sacks in each of his last six seasons. He is also responsible for a sack and forced fumble in the Bears’ loss to the Saints in Week 8.
The Bears have given up 231.6 passing yards per game (12th in the NFL) and 113.4 yards on the ground (15th).
The winner of the Bears-Saints game will advance to the NFC Divisional Round and face the highest ranked Packers.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.