Bears' Best Shot: Saints History of Playoff Disasters

New Orleans has a past of horrific playoff eliminations but to get there the Bears need to accomplish some things on offense they haven't done to date
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The Bears hope to be the next in a line of teams to deal the New Orleans Saints an unexpected, disastrous playoff defeat.

Whether they're even capable of an upset of this magnitude after an 8-8 season when they made an expanded playoff pool through the back door remains to be seen.

"For us, I really believe that it just comes down to one thing: belief in each other," Bears coach Matt Nagy said. "When you believe in each other, whether that’s the coaches or the players or vice versa, great things can happen in those three hours."

Launching the surprise ambush of New Orleans will not be easy after the way the Saints bowed out of the playoffs in recent years. If any team isn't looking ahead and taking wins or plays for granted, it has to be New Orleans.  

"So you look back at those games they've had, they've had some tough ones," Nagy said.

The Saints lost in an overtime upset at home to the Minnesota Vikings last year, on a controversial pass interference call against the Rams in the NFC championship game and on a last-second botched pass coverage in 2017 to the Vikings.

The Bears would love to follow up on what the Vikings have been able to do in postseason against New Orleans, and realize no one is giving them a chance.

"Me personally, I always feel like an underdog," edger rusher Khalil Mack said. "It's just in me. A lot of these guys do as well man, it's a lot of disrespect that we have been hearing. So obviously you have to use all of that to your advantage."

They need more than disrespect working on their side, and it's here where a Bears upset win would be an entirely different level of shock for the Saints.

The Vikings last year were not as good even as this year's Bears defense, which struggled home 11th overall. Minnesota was 14th on defense. However, the Vikings had a real threat on offense in the running game with Dalvin Cook, and it made their passing enough of a threat to scare the Saints deep.

The Bears and David Montgomery have run a little against bad defenses and their passing game has rarely been able to push it downfield even in wins.

"I think we definitely need to open it up a little bit," quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said. "As far as staying aggressive, I like going for it on fourth down. I think that's just a mindset but I think more importantly we gotta score touchdowns in the red zone.

"So once we get those, whether you're converting on third down or fourth down, it’s important to stay on the field, but after we saw from last game it’s even more important to finish with touchdowns than field goals."

Trubisky hasn't been able to beat playoff-level teams on the road in the past—not a single one. In fact, when it's happened at home it was largely in spite of him and not because of him.

So mixing it up a little might not be a bad idea. Nagy isn't disagreeing with the notion of taking a few gambles.

As an 8-8 team what's the harm? Everyone expects them to be home next week, anyway.

"You can't just be throwing 8- to 10- to 12-yard passes," Nagy said. "You have to be able to stretch the field vertically. We keep a keen eye on that. If we're not, that's not fair to our players."

The Bears defense needs help to pull off this upset, and vice versa. 

After all, it has been their offense producing more often in their late surge to the playoffs than their defense did, and now the defense is facing Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara and one of the best attacks in the league.

"What greater challenge than the New Orleans Saints?" Mack said. "It's going to be a fun one.

"But what comes with it is understanding that it's win or go home and you're doing everything in your power for Sunday making sure this team stays in the playoff race."

It's not where many expect the Bears to be come Monday.

Then again the Saints have been down that road in the past and just keep on taking it.

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