The second game on the Sunday schedule of Wild Card weekend features the Chicago Bears and the New Orleans Saints. Kickoff is at 4:40 P.M. Eastern, and the Saints are 9.5-point home favorites.
Chicago Bears Betting Preview: A Struggle to Stay Healthy
The Bears defense started strong and led the team to a 5-1 record. Through the first six weeks, they gave up an average of 19.3 points per game. However, Chicago fell apart as the season went one, ending the year 8-8 and averaging 25.4 points per game over the final 10 weeks.
A Week 17 loss to the Green Bay Packers nearly doomed the Bears’ playoff hopes, but they secured the final playoff spot when the Arizona Cardinals lost to the Los Angeles Rams that same day.
The quarterback situation was muddy through the year, with Mitchell Trubisky starting nine games and Nick Foles starting seven. Neither looks like a long-term answer under center. Trubisky is expected to start while Foles is recovering from an injury.
Star wide receiver Allen Robinson continues to prove that it doesn’t matter who’s under center; he’s going to produce at a high level. Robinson had 102 catches (sixth-most in the NFL) for 1,250 yards and six touchdowns this year.
Defensive star Khalil Mack underwhelmed base on his standards but still managed nine sacks and three forced fumbles. Fellow linebacker Roquan Smith helped carry the weight with 139 total tackles, four sacks, two interceptions, and 15 tackles for a loss.
Unfortunately, Smith suffered an elbow injury in the Green Bay game and is “Questionable” on the injury report. Also entering with a “Questionable” designation is wide receiver Darnell Mooney, the Bears’ second-leading receiver, who had 631 yards and four touchdowns this year.
New Orleans Saints Betting Preview: The Big “Not So” Easy
The Saints have had another double-digit win season, making it four straight years with at least 11 wins. They did it all without their star receiver Michael Thomas who battled a nagging ankle sprain all season and missed nine games.
With Drew Brees presumably set to retire in the offseason, this will likely be his last chance for a Super Bowl run. Brees missed significant time due to injury each of the past two seasons but was healthy for both playoff runs.
The Saints will also get Alvin Kamara back from the COVID-19 list. In his last game, he ran for six touchdowns against the Minnesota Vikings on Christmas Day, tying an NFL single-game record. Kamara was both the leading rusher and receiver for the Saints this year.
New Orleans has had a rough go of things in their last three playoff appearances. Three years ago, it was a loss to the Vikings on the final play of the game, now known as the Minneapolis Miracle. Two years ago, it was a loss to the Rams in overtime after a controversial non-call of pass interference, which would’ve all but guaranteed a win. Then last season, it was another overtime loss, again to the Vikings.
The Pick is In:
The Saints’ march to the Super Bowl begins on Sunday with a win and cover over the Bears. New Orleans has too many weapons offensively, and the Bears’ offense isn’t good enough to keep up.
FREE PICK: New Orleans Saints (-9.5).
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