The last two times the New Orleans Saints played in Chicago (in 2008 and ’07), they lost and uncharacteristically, quarterback
2. SUPERB SHORT GAME
Probably, a little more is being made of the Saints’ lack of a run game (97 attempts for 325 yards, with two touchdowns) than should be. That’s because the Saints have been productive by unconventional means. Namely, short passes to running backs
3. BEARS HUNTING
As usual, Chicago’s defense is an opportunistic one. The Bears have two interception returns for touchdowns (and six picks), they’ve forced a whopping 12 fumbles, recovering eight, and the team owns a plus-5 turnover ratio. They go after the ball with great success, which means the Saints have to be especially keen in their decision-making and ball-handling. That also may mean that the Bears are willing to gamble a little more defensively; opponents have scored nine offensive touchdowns against them (the Saints have allowed six) and are averaging 28.5 points against them, 25.5 in Chicago’s two home games. Also, opponents are averaging 6.1 yards per play, which is pretty significant.
4. THE GRAHAM EFFECT
Will Chicago be the opponent that essentially sells out defensively in an effort to shut down Saints tight end
5. SERVE AND PROTECT
Opponents have registered 12 sacks of Brees this season. That’s an extremely high number and it’s one the Saints want to get under control. The positive this week is that Chicago (six sacks) hasn’t been getting to opposing quarterbacks, who have completed 65.5 percent of their passes (91 for 139) against the Bears. The cleaner Brees is, the better.
OK. We said five things but, actually, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention a sixth: Devin Hester. The Bears’ kick returner is the best in NFL history, with a league-record 17 combined touchdowns on kickoff and punt returns, including 12 (another league record) on punt returns. Hester only has averaged 4.5 yards on four punt returns this season, but he’s at 32.4 yards on 14 kickoff returns. So far, Saints punter/kickoff specialist