Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints currently look like one of the most balanced teams in the NFL, and put their undefeated mark to the test on Sunday afternoon against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.
Brees went 30-for-39 for 413 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-17 blowout over Miami last week, with running back Darren Sproles totaling 142 yards and two touchdowns from scrimmage and another four catches for 100 yards and two scores from tight end Jimmy Graham. It was the third career 100-yard receiving game for Sproles, and his second since joining New Orleans two years ago.
Brees is now second only to Peyton Manning in passing yardage and touchdowns, and Graham is tied for the league-lead with Denver’s Wes Welker with six receiving touchdowns.
But the re-launched Saints looked fresher and more dangerous thanks to four turnovers forced by the new defense under new coordinator Rob Ryan. New Orleans is now fifth against the pass this season, and are tied for second in the NFC in takeaway-to-giveaway ratio at plus-five.
Unfortunately for the Saints, several injuries along the improved defense could hamper their undefeated mark. Defensive end Tyrunn Walker, nose tackle Brodrick Bunkley, and safety Roman Harper are all listed as out for Week Five.
That could help quarterback Jay Cutler and the Bears get things back on track after last week’s 40-32 let down to Detroit. Chicago was down 40-16 with less than nine minutes left in the fourth quarter before Cutler staged a rally with two touchdown passes.
Still the veteran Cutler’s efforts proved too little too late. Accounting for all four of the Bears turnovers, Cutler threw three interceptions against the Lions, half of his six total for the season, and lost another fumble. Three of the four turnovers eventually turned into Lions points.
Running back Matt Forte chimed in with 95 yards and a touchdown, and his currently fifth in the NFL with 320 yards through four games. Second-year receiver Alshon Jeffery had five catches for a career-high 107 yards and a touchdown.
On the other side of the ball, the Bears defense gave up 40 points for the first time since 2009, and 159 yards rushing.
Coverage of the game starts at 1 p.m. ET and will be broadcast by FOX, or watch a live online stream by purchasing NFL Game Access here.
Betting Odds: New Orleans is favored by 1 point.
Over/Under: 48.5 points.
Prediction: Chicago 31, New Orleans 30
Currently covering NBA, NFL, MLB, along with Real Madrid and Barcelona, focusing on trades, controversy, and injury updates. Joined IB Times in August 2012.