Prepare the slime as the NFL’s first foray into the cartoon world of Nickelodeon is set for today when the underdog Chicago Bears travel to the NFC South champs, the New Orleans Saints (4.40pm ET Sunday; TV: Live on CBS & Nickelodeon).
Read on for USA Betting’s preview and Bears vs Saints predictions for this Wild Card playoff NFL game.
So You’re Saying There’s a Chance?
It is perhaps best fitting that the Bears secured the Nick game because to many, the thought of them defeating the Saints is a comical farce. Chicago has just one win against a playoff team this year and they didn’t even really earn their own way into the postseason. The Bears lost their regular season finale against the Green Bay Packers but thanks to a loss by the Arizona Cardinals, Chicago earned a trip into the playoffs. Now, that’s not to say that the Bears are a bad team but they are certainly being overlooked as almost a formality in this one. Many aren’t giving them a chance but that could be a mistake. Because that’s when a team is at its most dangerous, when it has nothing left to lose.
Day one of Super Wild Card Weekend already featured three competitive games, all of which saw the underdogs play much better than expected. The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Seattle Seahawks and both the Washington Football Team and Indianapolis Colts made competitive games out of what many expected to be blowouts. Point being, no matter what they did in the regular season and no matter what record they bring into this game, the Bears shouldn’t be underestimated. Anything can happen in the playoffs and perhaps no one knows that better than the Saints, who have grasped defeat from the jaws of victory on more than one occasion.
The Saints faced the Bears earlier this year and only managed to edge their opponents by a field goal’s margin in overtime. For a team that is supposed to be so much better, that’s not exactly the result the Saints would have hoped for. Today is a new day for both of these teams as they look to turn the page on the 2021 postseason.
When the Saints Go Marching In
While the Saints won 12 games this year, the season didn’t come without its fair share of adversity. New Orleans has been no stranger to overcoming hurdles and doing so while remaining one of the best teams in the league. This year, the Saints had to deal with losing Drew Brees for a period of time, only having Michael Thomas for half the year and nearly losing Alvin Kamara in the playoffs due to COVID protocol. Fortunately, with the Saints playing today and not Saturday, Kamara should be able to play and there is good news regarding Thomas’ availability as well. 2020 hasn’t been a walk in the park for New Orleans but everything seems to be trending their way lately. Even the team’s defense has seemingly rounded into form right on time.
No one has won more regular season games than the Saints over the last five years but when it comes to the playoffs, that success hasn’t quite transferred over how New Orleans would have liked. One of the top teams expected to win the Super Bowl every year, the Saints have fallen short more often than not lately and often due to their own mistakes. New Orleans’ recent playoff track record is one the team would like to forget no doubt. There is never a wrong time for things to turn around especially as the window seems to be closing. This may be Drew Brees’ final hurrah and the Saints would love nothing more than to give him one final ring on his way out.
Key Factor for Chicago: How Will Mitch Trubisky Fare in his Playoff Debut?
A few years ago, the Bears decided that Mitch Trubisky was their guy. So despite having a top draft pick, Chicago traded up a few spots and gave up a lot to do it. It all would have worked out because Trubisky was supposed to be the franchise’s next great signal caller. Well, as it would turn out that didn’t quite materialize. The move that many people laughed at was turning out to be a huge mistake for Chicago. Trubisky struggled through his first few years and it even got to a point where the Bears brought in a veteran backup to compete with him for the starting job. The Trubisky experiment in Chicago was all but over as despite the Bears winning their first three games this year, Trubisky was benched for Nick Foles. It seemed his time in Chicago was over but then, Foles struggled and Trubisky was thrown back into the role he has yet to fully realize. Only this time, Trubisky’s second go around went much better. The young QB finally hit his stride, leading the Bears to four straight 30+ point wins to end the season.
Trubisky won’t have the easiest go of it against the Saints. Not only is he being thrown into a high-pressure situation but he’ll be doing so against a defense that sacked opposing quarterbacks 45 times and intercepted them another 18. It’s trial by fire for the third-year quarterback and how he plays will say a lot about not just how the game goes, but how his future in Chicago goes as well. Because should Trubisky falter, Foles will be right there on the bench, ready to pull off more improbable playoff magic.
Our Preview’s Bears at Saints Predictions Conclusion with Betting Picks Verdict
Make no mistake, the Bears will need to be near perfect to pull off the upset but anything is possible. Especially with Chicago’s running game. David Montgomery has been averaging nearly 100 yards per game over the last 5 weeks with a touchdown per game as well. He’s definitely someone Trubisky and the rest of the offense will rely on.
As for the Saints, they are a well-oiled machine with assets all over their offensive skill positions. It’s hard to see a way that New Orleans loses but the last three Saints playoff teams know better. That all said, we’re taking the Saints to win but look for the Bears to cover the 10.5-point spread favored to New Orleans. So these are our Chicago vs New Orleans betting predictions and picks:
- Go with the Bears +10.5pts on the spread @ -110 with Bovada, Bookmaker, Intertops or BetOnline.
- For the total points likely to be scored in this game, take the over 48 points @ best odds of -105 with Bovada.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.