First Look: Saints vs. Bears

The Saints have won three straight after starting 1-2, and that streak will be put to the test against the Bears at Soldier Field.
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The Saints (4-2) travel for the first time in a while to take on the Bears (5-2) at Soldier Field for a late kickoff being handled by FOX's top announcing crew of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. Chicago is facing their final NFC South foe on their schedule, and is a perfect 3-0 against the division. These two met last season, which was quite the game for a Saints team that didn't have Drew Brees, Jared Cook, and Alvin Kamara.

What to Watch For

Does Michael Thomas return? Thomas has been out of action since the end of the season opener, which feels like forever ago. He's certainly had an interesting journey during that time, most recently being subject of trade bait and talks that was largely fueled from Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. While Sean Payton shut the original report down and then commented on another report regarding Thomas, the fact remains that Thomas is dealing with a Grade-1 hamstring injury and could miss this game. Wednesday will be something we play close attention to, and the impending storm threat of Zeta will also be something we'll have to monitor.

Can the secondary figure things out? The defense somewhat improved out of the bye week, but a clear sore spot exists in the secondary after allowing another big play against the Panthers. Furthermore, the pass rush had plenty of opportunities to get Teddy Bridgewater down, but came up short aside the big play from Marcus Davenport near the end of the game. The last thing the Saints need is to make Nick Foles look like a rock star, but expect the Bears offense to throw it more than running it, and both the pass rush and secondary have to put forth a better effort. Foles was picked twice and sacked four times by the Rams, so there's a chance for Dennis Allen's defense.

Streaking Saints. New Orleans has faced Chicago five times since 2011, and they're riding a five-game winning streak, going 3-0 at Soldier Field in that stretch. Early on in the Sean Payton era, the Bears felt like they were the team's kryptonite. Things have wildly changed since then, and obviously this streak will be talked about more than a couple times. Perhaps something crazy about the Saints facing the Bears in that timeframe is Sean Payton going up against four different head coaches: Lovie Smith (2011), Marc Trestman (2013, 2014), John Fox (2017), and Matt Nagy (2019).

The Blind Side. Terron Armstead left the Panthers game early due to an arm injury. After getting treatment in the medical tent, he came back into the game only to go right back out. Veteran James Hurst took over his duties, and ended up giving up a really bad pressure that led to a Drew Brees sack/fumble. If Armstead is out of action, then Hurst likely gets the start. If that happens, look for the Bears to try to overload and exploit that left side with Andrus Peat.