Stephen Colbert was right: those fuckin' bears are a serious threat.
So on Sunday following the game against the Falcons, I went online to check some numbers on the Bears. Specifically their defensive stats. I'd heard that the Bears were not as formidable on the defensive side as they once had been.
Total yards per: 325.4 (17th)
Rushing yards per: 91.2 (6th)
Passing yards per: 234.2 (28th)
Okay, so obviously their ability to stop hasn't diminished, but look at those passing yards they're giving up! I mean, Drew should be able to throw all over these guys, right? I then noticed these numbers, which paint a more accurate picture of the Bears' passing defense:
Opp. QB rating: 74.1 (25th in the league -- that's good for them)
Ints: 19 (tied for second highest in the NFL)
No. of sacks: 27 (12th)
They've also given up two pass plays over 40 yards, one of them that ri-donk-ulous 99-yard TD pass courtesy of Gus Frerotte and the Minnesota Vikings.
So what this tells me is that the Bears can get pressure on the quarterback, force him to make bad throws, and they're not giving up the big play.
If I'm Sean Payton, the way I'm winning this game is not through a heavy dose of running, but rather a good short yardage passing game. Billy Miller and Jeremy Shockey, you're on notice. Reggie Bush should be used for swing passes and possibly going over the middle. Although we have guys that can go over the middle, I'm scared to death at that proposition. In NO WAY am I saying we need to abandon the run; the Saints definitely have to rely on Pierre Thomas' legs throughout the game. But we don't need the sort of balance we saw last week against the Falcons. If Drew Brees throws the ball 35 times, I'd like to see us run it between 20 and 25 times.
I think the game will be won or lost based on how fast Drew Brees can get the ball out of his hands and to his receivers.
Our hero Drew needs to channel this guy tonight:
Cause when dealing with Bears, a flaming sword sure as hell can't hurt.