2011 NFL Predictions: Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints

Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints
Sunday, 9/18/11, 1:00 PM EST, TV:  FOX
Opening Point Spread:  New Orleans -6.5
Current Betting Line:  New Orleans -6.5
Opening Total:  47
Current Total: 47.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher has returned to the team after the passing of his mother earlier this week

Chicago put together one of the more impressive showings of the opening week, handing the Atlanta Falcons a 30-12 defeat as one-point home underdogs.  The Bears were led by linebacker Brian Urlacher, who tallied a team-high 10 tackles, but the celebration quickly ended for the star due to the passing of his mother on Monday.  “My priority right now is to be with my family as we mourn her loss and make arrangements to lay her to rest,” Urlacher commented before leaving the Windy City.  He has returned to the team facilities and is listed as questionable for Week 2.  Chicago is 17-17 ATS in the last two-plus years of action.

The Bears wanted to see a big performance out of quarterback Jay Cutler and they got it, as he completed passes to eight different receivers against the Falcons.  He’s been known to start fast in September, possessing a 98.8 passer rating during the month as a member of the team, while producing a 6-1 record.  Cutler has thrown 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions in those seven contests.  Running back Matt Forte also started the season strong, which was a great sign for a player that was upset about not receiving a new contract.  He is fourth in the NFL with 4,889 yards from scrimmage since 2008.

New Orleans dropped a 42-34 contest to the Green Bay Packers as four-point road underdogs in the league’s opening contest.  The Saints defense was torched and ranks last in scoring defense entering the week.  “We realize we can be a lot better,” commented Saints cornerback Jabari Greer.  The unit really never had a chance in the early going, allowing the Packers to score on four of its first five possessions.  It was a disappointing result when finding that the Saints’ offense finished with 477 total yards.  New Orleans is 17-20 ATS the past two-plus campaigns.

The Saints are solely focused on avoiding an 0-2 start to the season, as the team looks to make it back to the Super Bowl after last year’s disappointing exit in the first-round of the playoffs.  New Orleans has dropped the last four meetings between the two teams, but has won the yardage battle in the last three.  Starting quarterback Drew Brees is a huge part of the team’s success and is coming off a 419-yard performance in the opener.  One of his main targets, Marques Colston, will not be in the lineup after suffering a broken collar bone that will keep him out for up to four weeks.

Bettors will likely back the Bears due to their 5-1-1 ATS mark in Week 2, while the Saints are 8-17 ATS versus the NFC.

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