With Allen Robinson unlikely to play for the first time this season the onus will fall on young Bears receivers to show where they are in their development.
Robinson hasn't been declared out, but he is in the concussion protocol through Friday after a Monday night game and it's rare when a player in his situation gets clearance by Sunday to play.
Javon Wims could get a shot at making an impact and for the first time this season Riley Ridley could be active for the first time, as well.
The biggest Saints weakness to date has been allowing too many pass completions across the board, as their 26th ranking in paser rating against shows. They are giving up a passer rating of 105.9
The Bears may or may not be able to run the ball with their starting left guard and center gone, and even without Robinson as a target they have opportunities to strike against the Saints and counter an explosive New Orleans offense.
Here are three must-win matchups for the Bears Sunday against the Saints.
WR Allen Robinson vs. RCB Marshon Lattimore
Allen Robinson now gets the matchup against Lattimore after clearing the concussion protocol and if he's entirely over the head injury it means a favorable situation for the Bears. The Saints have been vulnerable downfield and it's more of a chance to go for the 50-50 ball. New Orleans' two-time Pro Bowl cornerback is experiencing an abysmal season by his standards. He has been giving up a 64% completion percentage and a 126.1 passer rating and allowed two touchdown passes. A hamstring issue plagued him for two weeks earlier this year. Pro Football Focus gives him a coverage grade of only 48.6 and an overall grade of 49.0 this year. Robinson has had four catches or more in six of the seven games this season.
Bears RCB Jaylon Johnson vs. Saints WR Tre'Quan Smith
Without both Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders already, and now without Marquez Callaway, the Saints are scraping the bottom of the barrell at receiver. The Saints barrel bottoms are as good as many teams' starters. Smith had 28 catches as a rookie out of Central Floriday then only 18 last year but has stepped up with all the receiver injuries to make 20. He's a difficult matchup for Johnson because of his height, at 6-foot-2. Johnson's problem so far hasn't necessarily been height. Nor has it been speed, although a few faster receivers did get behind him. It's the problem many rookie corners have and that's battling all the maneuvering pro receivers throw that they've never seen. Although Pro Football Focus has seemed to sour on Johnson, he's still commanding a 46.8% completion percentage against when targeted, and a passer rating of 82.3 allowed. He's also been a fairly steady tackler for a cornerback despite that trucking he received in the opener with Detroit. He has missed only 11.5% of his tackles.
DE Mario Edwards/Roy Robertson-Harris vs. LG Andrus Peat
This could be Roy Robertson-Harris as well but Edwards was listed here because it's the team that cut him and he admitted last week he has targeted this game. He's not the only one. Defensive linemen Akiem Hicks and John Jenkins are former Saints, as well. Three quarterback hits, three tackles for loss and a sack in limited play show Edwards has been a valuable pass-rush addition for the Bears on the inside. If the Bears are to get a push in this one, they're going to want it up the middle because Drew Brees is not a tall quarterback and in the Saints offense the emphasis is on getting the ball off in the pocket behind center and guards at a relatively close point to the line of scrimmage. If Edward and/or Robertson-Harris, as well as Hicks, can get the line driving back, they can block Brees' ability to see downfield or escape the pocket. Peat is the most hot-and-cold blocker on the Saints line and commands the lowest PFF grade. Edwards should know his strengths and weaknesses from their time together with the team.