Rod Blagojevich is back at work, and so am I.
So why will the Bears lose tonight? Plain and simple the Saints provide matchup problems.
Saints QB Drew Brees is going to pick the Bears defense apart.
Yes, it' s true the Saints have been bad on the road this year (1-5). Brees has also been bad away from home. Why will it be different at a cold Soldier Field?
Because from what I can tell, it's been the Saints' defense that's done the biggest bellyflop on the road this year. New Orleans gave up an average of 30 points per game on the nose in those losses. That might sound like cherry-picking the data ("You only counted the losses!) but it should be noted in the one victory, the Saints gave up 20 points to the Chiefs -- who might be the worst team in the NFL this year. (We'll never know... even if they beat the Bengals in an exciting Week 17 matchup, neither of those teams get to test their stuff against the Lions...)
For whatever reason, the Saints' horrible defense is less horrible at home.
So the Bears' offense will capitalize, right? Uh... maybe not.
Last week was the first time in seven weeks that a Bears QB threw for more than 200 yards, and Sunday against the Jaguars Kyle Orton just barely did that.
The Bears could elect to shove Matt Forte and the running game down New Orleans' throat, but that's not really the formula for a blowout win.
Now why do I think the Bears will lose? Because if the game is close, and push comes to shove, I believe the Bears' defense will bend and then break.
Consider how they lost to the other three NFC South teams. Carolina, Tampa Bay and Atlanta each did exactly what they wanted to against the Bears' D and each game was lost in the final moments.
The other alternative is uglier. Brees and the Saints come out firing from the start and hang a brutal blowout on the Bears the same way they embarrassed the Packers 51-29 three weeks ago.
The Bears could win. The Bears might be a better team overall, and they really have to win this game to keep their playoff hopes going strong.
I just won't be betting on them to pull it off.