Chicago Bears (8-8 8-8 ATS) at New Orleans Saints (12-4 9-7 ATS)
The Bears have a tall task heading to the Big Easy facing the Saints where they are the biggest underdog out of the six playoff games. The Saints are a 10-point favorite in this NFC matchup with a total of 47.
The public has, not surprisingly, backed the Saints in this game, even with a huge spread, as they opened as a 9.5-point favorite and as of Wednesday are a 10-point favorite.
While the Bears eeked into the playoffs with a .500 record and lost their season finale their offense showed signs of life at the end of the season. They endured a seven-game losing streak this season and changing QB’s a few times but in their losing streak they did give the Saints a game at home only losing 26-23.
The Saints won their last two games where their offense put up 52 points and 33 points respectively. However, while star WR Michael Thomas is expected to play star RB Alvin Kamara is a question mark. Kamara did not rush for 1,000 yards (932 yards) but averaged a legit 5 yards per carry and also led New Orleans in receiving yards.
The Chicago offense came alive late in the season and averaged 31.5 ppg over that span. Still, Mitchell Trubisky has a lot to prove and may ensure a job next season with a strong showing in this game.
The Saints are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four home games against the Bears. And while they are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven games facing them, overall, the one game they did not cover was this season.
Have to Hold Onto the Rock
In the Bears last game of the season they lost to the Green Bay Packers 35-16 and while they had more yards they committed two turnovers and only forced one. Trubisky was picked off once with no TD and he has a pick in each of his last three games.
The Bears will lean hard on RB David Montgomery, who led the Bears with 1,070 yards with 8 TD and averaged 4.3 yards per carry. In the late-season three-game win streak he averaged 118 rushing yards per game but in the season finale loss to the Packers rushed for 69 yards and only averaged 3.1 yards per carry.
The New Orleans defense was a good one on the season, only gave up seven points in their last game, and have one of the best run defenses in the NFL.
Ride the Offense
Even with Kamara a question mark and Thomas back on the field after missing time the Saints’ offense is a dangerous one. They ranked fifth in the league in ppg and on top of that their D ranked fourth giving up an average of 21.1 ppg.
Drew Brees did not put up huge numbers this season but ranked sixth in the league in QBR. In the season finale he passed for three TD and no INT after a two pick no TD game and has his best target in Thomas back for this playoff game.
Kamara will be missed in the backfield and the team’s second leading rusher in Latavius Murray is also a question mark and missed the last game. Still, without that duo the Saints still rushed for 156 yards in the last game, which was a 33-7 win over the Panthers, where Ty Montgomery rushed for 105 yards.
The reason the Saints can rush the ball no matter who is out there is a solid offensive line. They are great at run blocking and Brees has only been sacked four times in the last five games.
The Bears are only 1-4 ATS in their last five games facing a team with a winning record.
The Bears’ offense did show signs of life at the end of the season and they may be fortunate in this game with some key players a question mark for the Saints.
They only lost to them by three points this season, but can they put up another fight facing them in the Big Easy? I would say no. Even with injuries and questionable players the Saints are a home and they will easily win this game and cover the spread.
PICK: Saints -10