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NFL Betting: Saints vs. Bears Monday Night Football Preview

Posted by Stan Jenkins on 12/15/2014 10:44:20 AM

The New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears have had seasons that are legitimately described as disastrous, and nothing less. Which team will salvage a little bit of pride on Monday night?

New Orleans Saints @ Chicago Bears – Monday, December 15

These teams are wondering what has happened this season. A lot was expected from each of them, especially the Saints, who played the eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks pretty tough in Seattle in the NFC divisional playoffs. New Orleans trailed by only one score for much of the game and had a chance to tie in the final 10 seconds before coming up short. The Saints might have won that game if they had received better field goal kicking, but key failures in that department left them short. Even with the loss, though, the Saints showed a lot of promise for 2014, and this season was supposed to bring the franchise closer to a second Super Bowl appearance. Instead, the Saints have drifted much farther away from that goal, sinking to a shocking 5-8 record through 13 games.

The Saints have not been that good on offense. They’ve been shut down multiple times at home, including this past Sunday by the Carolina Panthers. New Orleans scored only 10 points and looked feeble the whole way. The Saints scored just 10 points in another home loss a few weeks ago against the Cincinnati Bengals. They’ve been ordinary on that side of the line of scrimmage. It’s on defense, though, where this team has completely fallen apart. The Saints are 29th in both rushing and passing defense. They have allowed teams to generally run wild on offense, but they have particularly lacked strength in the fourth quarters of games. They have allowed tying or go-ahead scores in the fourth quarter of five separate games, four of them turning into losses. The Saints’ defense has been bad on a general level, but the worst part is that it has been bad in crunch time. Just a little more success from New Orleans’ defense could have the Saints at 7-6 right now, in full control of the NFC South. Instead, they’re merely tied with Atlanta and only half a game ahead of Carolina in the worst division race in NFL history.

Things are really no better for the Bears, another team that after barely missing the playoffs last year and failing to get a winning record, was supposed to fix its problems. Instead, the Bears have actually gotten worse, following the same basic path the Saints have covered this season. Chicago has a bad offensive line, bad enough that the Bears are 26th in the NFL in rushing yardage. The defensive line doesn’t generate enough of a pass rush, as shown by the fact that the Bears’ pass defense is 30th in the league.

This looks like a game in which the two quarterbacks, Drew Brees of New Orleans and Jay Cutler of Chicago, should both be able to gain lots of yards and score lots of points. The Bears’ defense isn’t good, but the Saints’ defense is worse. Therefore, pick Chicago at home.

Pick: Bears +3.5

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