Saints bring four-game win streak -- but no Kamara -- to Chicago
The New Orleans Saints will go for five wins in a row when they visit the Chicago Bears on Sunday afternoon. They will have to do so without star running back Alvin Kamara, who is out because of knee and ankle injuries.
It would be easy to classify the Saints as short-handed. They're already without quarterback Drew Brees, who is recovering from thumb surgery, and won't have tight end Jared Cook (ankle). Cook has been a top target of Brees' understudy, Teddy Bridgewater, the past two weeks. But New Orleans (5-1) has won four consecutive games with Bridgewater under center and with determined groups on offense, defense and special teams. All five Saints victories this season have come by single digits.
"We know that when we're out there playing, it's going to take all 11 guys on the football field to win these football games," Bridgewater told reporters after the Saints' latest win, a 13-6 decision over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The next test is against Chicago (3-2), which is well rested after a two-week break between games. The Bears are looking to bounce back from a 24-21 loss against the Oakland Raiders in London on Oct. 6.
Like the Saints, the Bears also have spent time without their top quarterback. Mitchell Trubisky is recovering from a left shoulder injury, and he watched from the sidelines as Chase Daniel passed for 231 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions against Oakland. Bears coach Matt Nagy told reporters he was "cautiously optimistic" that Trubisky could return against the Saints after he practiced Wednesday through Friday.
"I feel good about it," Nagy said. "But we're preparing with both (quarterbacks)." Trubisky is still a game-time decision, according to the Bears, but expected to be on the field this week.
"Hopefully once I show everyone that I'm good to go in practice this week, they'll let me roll," Trubisky said earlier in the week. History indicates that the game could be tough to predict. The teams have evenly split the 30 previous meetings. But the Saints have won the past four meetings, including a 20-12 victory in New Orleans in 2017 and a 31-15 win in Chicago in 2014.
Both Trubisky and Daniel have been inconsistent for the Bears' offense, which ranks 30th in the league with 266 yards per game. Chicago has not fared much better in terms of scoring, ranking 27th with 17.4 points per game. Meanwhile, the Saints boast the No. 10 defense, allowing 340.5 yards per game. Cameron Jordan leads the unit with five sacks.
On the other side of the ball, New Orleans ranks 22nd in total offense (344.7 yards per game) and 18th in scoring (21.3), while Chicago ranks sixth in total defense (312.2 yards allowed per game). Bears linebacker Khalil Mack leads the team with 4.5 sacks to go along with four forced fumbles, which is tied for first in the NFL with Whitney Mercilus of the Houston Texans. Mack has 18 forced fumbles since 2015, which is the most in the league.
Bridgewater knows that a difficult challenge awaits against Mack and the rest of the Chicago defense. In the absence of Brees, he has completed 69.4 percent of his passes for 1,089 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions. "I just look at it as, I try to be the best version of Teddy I can be," Bridgewater said. "But I also use the resources around me. So to have a guy like Drew in my corner (supporting me), that's very beneficial to me."
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)