2006 Season NFL Football Past Picks
January 21, 2007
This pick was released to clients on July 31, 2012 at 1:10AM ET.
New Orleans at Chicago
Sunday 01/21 03:00 PM Eastern
3 units on New Orleans +3 (-110) (risk 3 to return 5.73) RESULT: LOSS
These teams were the favorites to get to this round, unlike the AFC where the top 2 teams both got knocked off. New Orleans has been a great story. The season began with the Saints homeless, and apparently heading nowhere. The added ingredients were reggie Bush, and Drew Brees, and suddenly the Saints produced the top rated offense in the NFL. Chicago had a defense that was begging for at least an average offense to take them to the next level. The season began with everything firing for the Bears. Grossman came out firing, the defense was stopping everyone cold. The story has changed dramatically for the Bears. The last 9 games the Bears have gone from giving up 9.9ppg to 20.7ppg. The offense has gone from scoring 31.6ppg, to scoring 22.9ppg. They have lost 10 points on offense and 11 on defense. They have gone from the best on both sides of the ball to average on both sides of the ball. It is a defense that has gotten progressively worse! The last 5 games they have given up 26ppg. The most startling stat of all is they have yielded an NFL worst 15 of 23 red-zone possessions for TD'S. The Bears have yielded 374.6 yards a game over their last 5 games, which would put them dead last in the entire NFL. This is to offenses that rank 29,22,19,9, and 6. The only 2 offenses you see there in the top 10, GB and STL gained an average of 420 yards a game against the Bears. Then there is the issue with Grossman. Do we see the good Grossman, or do we see the bad Grossman. The bad Grossman means this is a New Orleans blowout win. The good Grossman means we have a competitive game. The next question is both coaches nightmare, Devin Hester. He has 6 returns for TD'S, but he has double digit fumbles, and has had 3 games where he has fumbled at least 3 times. Does the game turn on a return, or does it turn on a fumble. The only thing we can add, is he has fumbled twice as many times as he has returned for scores, so the odds favor a turn on a fumble. New Orleans is led by their offense, but don't discount the defense. They give up 12 yards a game less than the Bears. If you look at recent stats, as we pointed out above, their defense is better than the Bears. Brees has thrown for over 4,000 yards with 26 TD'S and 11 INT'S. McAllister is running healthy again, and Reggie Bush caught 89 balls, and is a game-breaker, as is Devery Henderson who averages over 23 yards a catch. The Saints can drive the field, but also have quick strike capacity, as Brees has completed 5 passes for 70+ yards, and believe it or not have 7 players that have caught one for over 40 yards, and 11 that have caught one for over 20. The Bears could not stop a #19 ranked Seattle offense at home, and allowed them 3-3 in the red-zone. They have shown against better offenses recently in GB and STL that they averaged giving up 420 yards a game to, that the defense is not anything like it was. They rank #9, but in the last 5 rank #32. Now they must stop the best there is in the NFL. That puts pressure on Grossman, and the Bears offense to match scores, and it is a game they will be hard pressed to win. The Saints go marching in!