Sad-Sack Saints Still Have Shot at Division Crown as They Face Bears
There is a lot of misery to go around when you consider the cases of both the New Orleans Saints and the Chicago Bears. Both of these teams have offenses that can produce yards and points, but they have been careless under-achievers that have had a difficult time stopping anyone with a capable offense. On Monday night, these teams will meet up in NFL betting action at Soldier Field (8:30 PM ET on NBC), and even though they have the same record, Pinnacle customers know that only one of them has something very serious at stake as far as the playoff race is concerned.
Last week, the Saints put forth an effort that was abysmal at best. They turned the ball over twice in their first three offensive plays, and fell behind 17-0 to a Carolina Panthers squad that is notorious for slow starts. They never made it back, falling by a 41-10 score that marked the fourth straight home loss for this team that had once been so dominant at the Superdome.
The Bears are now out of the picture as far as the playoffs are concerned. They have allowed 75 points over the last two contests, and dropped a 41-20 a decision to the Dallas Cowboys a week ago Thursday. Like New Orleans, Chicago is 5-8, both straight-up and against the football pointspread. However, since the Saints reside in the NFC South, they are still battling for the division title, as they are tied with the Atlanta Falcons going into this weekend’s action.
NFL Betting Line – Saints vs Bears
In the Monday night NFL betting odds at Pinnacle, the Saints are the road favorite:
Point Spread: New Orleans Saints -3, 1.952 – Chicago Bears +3, 1.952
Money Line: Saints 1.657, Bears 2.370
Over/Under: 54 points
We would not go so far as to say that New Orleans has become a “road warrior,” but for a team that had been having a lot of difficulty winning games as the visitor, they at least can brag about two straight victories on the road. The last one was rather impressive, as they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 35-32. But this is all cold comfort when you consider that the Saints had emerged victorious in 20 straight home games with Sean Payton on the sidelines, and after the four-game home losing skein, the only objective conclusion is that they have simply blown opportunities to take command of the division.
Pinnacle customers have also heard reports of things getting very tense around the New Orleans camp, to the point where Payton, the head coach, and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan are said to “hate each other” and needless to say, differ on philosophies. Of course, the severest critics among NFL bettors would opine that the Saints don’t really HAVE a defensive philosophy, when you consider that they gave up 497 yards to a Carolina team that is rather anemic. This “stop unit” does not generate turnovers and has a difficult time slowing down even semi-capable quarterbacks. Over the last five games, New Orleans has failed to hold any opponent below 27 points. And they are yielding 6.2 yards per play.
We will certainly see what the Bears can do with this home dog situation. They are offensive-minded, to be certain, but have allowed more points per game than any team in the NFL, and quarterback Jay Cutler has thrown 15 interceptions. Brandon Marshall has been put on injured reserve after suffering a collapsed lung, and the general consensus is that Mark Trestman may be playing out the string on his brief head-coaching career.