After going 12-4 during the regular season campaign, the Saints settled in to the NFC's No. 2 seed in the postseason. They're one of the hopefuls to make a deep postseason run, but face an interesting test in the Wild Card round on Sunday when the Bears come to town. This will be the third time New Orleans and Chicago face each other in the playoffs, with the Bears taking both of the matchups in the 1990 and 2006 seasons.
What to Watch For
Kamara Watch. Alvin Kamara has a chance to play in this game after landing on the COVID-19/Reserve list from testing positive. So far, nothing bad has come out of this, which is a good indication that Kamara could be available on Sunday. It wouldn't be a death sentence for the Saints if he cannot go, as Latavius Murray is more than capable of handling the load at running back. The team also got some good production from Ty Montgomery filling in against the Panthers in the regular season finale. In the same breath, Kamara has been the team's best player on offense. You always want to have your best weapon on the field. This will be the top storyline to follow the rest of the week.
Healthy Saints. Michael Thomas (ankle), Marcus Williams (ankle), Josh Hill (hand/finger), Patrick Robinson (hamstring), C.J. Gardner-Johnson (COVID-19 list), and Deonte Harris (neck) are some of the many players the Saints are hopefully getting back this week. They already got back Latavius Murray, Dwayne Washington, and Michael Burton from the COVID-19/Reserve list. Needless to say, they'll be at almost full strength going into the postseason. While that's a refreshing thought, the team's ability to navigate through COVID-19 will be imperative to make a legitimate run this postseason.
Perfect Balance. We've witnessed that the Saints have not always started strong and have trailed early in some postseason games over the past four seasons. Conversely, starting strong has not always been their friend either. New Orleans is a team that has seen its fair share of polarizing opposites on offense and defense. You obviously want to be in perfect sync and playing the best possible football at this time of the year. All the playcalling, both offensively and defensively, will go under a microscope. This seems like a no-brainer, but Sean Payton's squad will have to find a good haul of complimentary football on Sunday.
Drew Brees. It's a eerie feeling knowing that this might be the final run for No. 9, and Saints life without him is completely uncertain. This has been the first season in a while that it's felt like the end. Brees played in 12 games this season, still turning in respectable numbers. Getting all his weapons back makes it intriguing for what kind of day he could have against the Bears, but as always, the interior protection will be a focal point for New Orleans.
Some 3,000 fans will be in attendance for the game, which will be featured on CBS as the 3:40 p.m. CT game. Jim Nantz and Tony Romo will be on the call, as the game will also be simulcast on Nickelodeon and Amazon Prime. Here's to hoping the Saints make it a memorable run.