5 Reasons Why The Saints Will Win/Lose On Sunday
The New Orleans Saints return to action on Sunday, when they play host to the Chicago Bears, and it's time to take a look 5 reasons why the Saints will win, and 5 reasons why they will lose.
Kickoff time at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans is scheduled for noon.
5 Reasons Why The Saints Will Win:
1)---Saints Have Too Much Offensive Firepower: New Orleans is averaging 391.0 yards-per-game, which ranks 4th in the league, while Chicago is only averaging 284.9 yards a contest, which ranks 30th. Simply put, the Bears don't match-up well at all with the Saints, from an offensive point of view.
2)---The New Orleans Ground Game Continues To Get Better: The Saints' running back tandem of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara continues to get better, and is arguably the best backfield duo in the league right now. Over the last two games, since the trade of Adrian Peterson to the Arizona Cardinals, Ingram and Kamara have combined to rush for 351 yards on 66 carries, for an average of 5.3 yards-per-carry. The Bears have a solid defense, but look for these two to play well once again, opening up the passing game for Drew Brees and company.
3)---Terron Armstead Is Back: Armstead is now back for his third game, after missing all of training camp, and the first four games of the season. The Saints are just a better football team with a healthy Armstead. The more he plays, and the better in shape he gets into, after missing all the time that he did, the better New Orleans will be. Look for him to have his best game of the year on Sunday.
4)---Marshon Lattimore: The rookie is playing at an incredibly high level. That's rare too. Other than Marcus Peters, who had a sterling rookie year with the Chiefs in 2015, not too many rookie cornerbacks in recent memory have come into the league and made the impact that Lattimore has. Plus, the Bears don't exactly have receivers that strike fear into the hearts of defensive coordinators around the league, so expect another big game for the youngster.
5)---Third Down Efficiency: The Saints, who led the league in this department last year, are down this season, converting on 40% of their third down chances. That still ranks 13th in the league however, and I expect them to get better, when Willie Snead finally starts helping the offense. The Bears, on the other hand, have been pretty bad, converting on only 34.1% of their third down chances, which ranks 28th. With rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky, I don't think Chicago will fare well in this department again on Sunday, which means advantage to the Saints.
5 Reasons Why The Saints Will Lose.
1)---Win Streaks Are Hard To Maintain: New Orleans has won 4-straight, which is the second-longest current streak. Only the Eagles, who have won 5-straight, have a longer win streak. This is also the Saints' longest win streak since 2013, when they won 5-straight to begin the year. The NFL is a league based on parity. Win streaks are hard to come by, and the Saints are due to lose.
2)---Jordan Howard: If the Bears have any chance, against the Saints or anybody else, they have to run the football, and Howard has done a solid job for them this season. He has 560 rushing yards, leading a Chicago rushing attack which currently ranks 7th in the league, averaging 126.3 yards-per-game. Tank Cohen is a nice compliment to Howard. As they do every week, the Bears will try to shorten the game, and Howard is the key to that.
3)---Larry Warford: The Saints will miss their starting right guard, who will be out for an unspecified period of time, with an abdominal strain. The Saints have done a really good job of working around injuries on their offensive front, but Warford was playing well, so his presence will be missed, especially against a solid Chicago defense.
4)---Special Teams: The Saints, who have been absolutely putrid in the special teams department over the last 5-plus years, actually got off to a decent start in this department, but have returned to their old ways over the last two contests. You can see head Sean Payton is not happy with special teams right now, and it's understandable. One way to lose this game is being outplayed, or simply doing something stupid on special teams, and it's not a stretch to see that happening to the Saints on Sunday.
5)---Bears Defense: The Chicago defense had five sacks in the first quarter last Sunday and didn’t allow a touchdown for the second straight week. Akiem Hicks, a defensive end, and a former Saint, has been a leader for the defense for the past two years. Hicks was voted defensive MVP for the Bears in 2016 after recording 36 tackles and seven sacks. Linebacker Christian Jones is a team leader that can play for anybody. If the Bears have a shot, they're going to have to at least slow down the Saints, and they have the defensive personnel to do that.