2008 Season NFL Football Past Picks
December 11, 2008
This pick was released to clients on December 31, 1969 at 9:00PM ET.
New Orleans at Chicago
Thursday 12/11 08:15 PM Eastern
2 units on New Orleans +3 (-115) (risk 2 to return 2) RESULT: push
2 units on Game Total OVER 45.5 -104 (risk 2 to return 2) RESULT: win
A critical NFC Thursday Night matchup features a pair of 7-6 teams that will be playing what may be an elimination game. The Bears have long been known as a defensive team, but the face of this team has changed. They have had a soft schedule when it comes to offensive teams, yet they have still allowed 20 or more points in nine of their 13 games played thus far. They have only played five games the entire season against offenses that rank in the top half of the league. When they have played these better-than-average offensive teams, the Bears have allowed 25.5 ppg. And now they must face the best the NFL has to offer this season. The Saints have put points up on everyone, as they have topped the 20 mark in 12 of 13 weeks. The strength of this Bears defense is stopping the run. They are in the top 10 against the run. But, despite playing for the most part against sub-par offenses, the Bears are getting torched for 234 ypg through the air. And, we know the strength of the Saints offense is the air-game behind Drew Brees who is putting up an MVP-worthy season at QB. Chicago has always struggled against explosive offenses as they are 7-19 ATS in their last 26 games vs. teams that average 6+ yards a play. The Chicago offense is better suited for running the ball, rather than putting the game in Kyle Orton's hands. Matt Forte has rushed for over 1,000 yards, and has made the difference for the Bears offense this season. I expect the Bears to use him a lot here, as no one else has gained more than 109 yards on the ground for the Bears on the season. But here's a shocker for you: The Saints, not known for defense, have stopped the featured back every game they have played this season. They have faced almost every top RB in the league, including the top three on four occasions. They have faced Andrien Peterson, Michael Turner (twice), Clinton Portis and DeAngelo Williams, and guess what? Not one of them ran for 100 yards! Peterson carried 21 times for 32 yards. Chicago has also faced Ryan Grant and Frank Gore and neither got to the 100 mark. The only back that went for 100+ on the Saints this season is LaDanian Tomlinson who put up 105 in a game played in England. The Saints seduce teams into a passing game, and the Bears aren't equipped to go toe-to-toe with the Saints in the air. I'll take New Orleans as a very live dog here. I also like the OVER. The Bears allow 25.5 ppg to teams that are in the top 50% of the league on offense, and the Saints are #1, so Saints points should come easy. As mentioned, the Saints get teams to abandon the run. That means the Bears will have the football in the air a lot as well. Chicago has played 18 of their last 24 at home OVER. Saints and the OVER in this one.
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