I haven’t been looking forward to this match up with the high octane Saints offense this week. But Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune is doing his best to give me and people like me a little hope:
“There is an Achilles’ heel in the New Orleans offense and it’s a sputtering running game that currently ranks 25th in the NFL, averaging 81.2 yards per game.”
“The Saints’ offensive line isn’t as sturdy as it has been in recent years. With left tackle Jermon Bushrod skipping town last spring and signing with the Bears, Charles Brown (a 2010 second-round pick) is now the man protecting Brees’ blindside. Standout right guard Jahri Evans has been dealing with a hamstring injury in recent weeks, missed the Week 3 win over Arizona and just hasn’t been himself early on.
“Currently, [quarterback Drew] Brees is on pace to be sacked 48 times this season. In seven previous seasons with the Saints, he’s never been sacked more than 26 times. And that was last season.”
Rich Campbell, also at the Tribune, more or less confirms that the Saints offensive line has some flaws that the Bears plan to exploit:
“Regardless of personnel [on the Bears defensive line], coach Marc Trestman is confident of the defensive line’s plan for the Saints.
“’We’ve done some things structurally to force and integrate some problems on the New Orleans side of the football, and we’ll see what happens,’ he said.”
Better play from the Bears defensive line would be welcome this week. They certainly haven’t been scaring anyone with much in the way of penetration this year and when that isn’t happening, the defense isn’t going to stop many decent offenses, let alone good ones like this.
Football games are almost always won and lost at the line of scrimmage. Turnovers or no turnovers, that’s the only place you had to look to see which was the better team last Sunday when the Bears lost to the Lions. That will be the place to look this week as well.