The New Orleans Saints welcome the Chicago Bears into the Caesar’s Superdome after a quality win over the Indianapolis Colts a week ago. Derek Carr had arguably his best game of the season and appropriately was highlighted by a deep shot to Rashid Shaheed.
Coming into this game there are some questions and storylines to watch on both sides of the ball. The offense is looking towards their stars like Chris Olave to continue this performance, while the defense should crush the Bears offense. Chicago has also highlighted how difficult it is to play in New Orleans. All of these are storylines you must pay attention to in preparation for Saints vs. Bears.
Justin Fields will miss his third straight game
Despite being “determined” to return for this game, Justin Fields will miss his third game in a row. Tyson Bagent will start at quarterback. Not only are the Saints playing a backup, they are also playing a less mobile quarterback. This is a big benefit for the New Orleans defense that has struggled with running quarterbacks.
This is the second game in a row the Saints have caught this break. Last week, the Colts were without Anthony Richardson. Bagent has rushed for two touchdowns, but he isn’t as willing or as skilled of a rusher as Fields.
Can the Saints repeat last week's performance?
This should be a bounce back game for the defense
The New Orleans defense has not been as consistent over the past few games. The offensive struggles have overshadowed this issue. Another reason this hasn’t been discussed much is the Saints usually put it together. However, this is the backbone of the team and shouldn’t rely on second half adjustments to find success.
Good defense know how to make adjustments, but relying on them is a dangerous game. Against Houston and Jacksonville, the hole of the first half was just too much to overcome despite a strong second half. This is not a strong Bears offense, and New Orleans shouldn’t need 30 minutes to get adjusted.
How will Bagent handle the Superdome noise?
The Caesar’s Superdome can get loud and be a problem for opposing teams. Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin recently described the atmosphere in the stadium. In recent years, the stadium has lost some of its allure, but it’s still respected by other teams.
A big storyline in Chicago is how the team is preparing for the crowd noise. The Bears are doing the typical blaring music at practice, and getting some natural noise from the railroads near the practice facility. Bagent doesn’t have much experience with the silent count but will likely use it frequently this week.
Chris Olave bounce back game?
Chris Olave admitted he’s in the midst of a slump at the moment. Olave said he’s not playing up to his own standard. There are a lot of things going on for Olave that could cloud his mental state. Who knows how that is impacting him, but the last month has definitely been rough for him. He’s fighting to make sure that he doesn’t allow the talk around him to get him too down.
With Olave being so open about his own struggles, you would think the Saints would work to help him get out of that. Confidence might not be the issue, but Olave could benefit from getting plays drawn up for him early. Getting him involved in the game early could help him get out of his slump.