The New Orleans Saints started the year off with a very strong defense. They’re still an above average defense, but the past two weeks, we’ve seen them let up 31 and 27 points. This week, the Saints defense draws a matchup with the 2-6 Chicago Bears who are without their QB1, Justin Fields.
Bears’ HC Matt Eberflus announced Tyson Bagent will start again Sunday at New Orleans while Justin Fields continues to be “week-to-week” with his dislocated right thumb.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 30, 2023
This is the perfect week for the Saints defense to get themselves back on track. Tyson Bagent, the undrafted Division II QB, is getting the start for the third consecutive week. In his 2.5 NFL games, Bagent has thrown for 477 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions while rushing for another 27 yards and two touchdowns.
The Chicago offense ranks 17th in the NFL in points per game, averaging just over 21 points, but since Bagent has taken over, they’ve dropped to a little over 12 PPG, which would rank 31st in the league behind the Giants 11.9 PPG.
The Bears have some playmakers on offense with D.J. Moore and Cole Kmet, but overall, they just don’t have the firepower to score a whole bunch of points with Bagent as their QB1.
D.J. Moore has had 51, 54 and 55 yards with Bagent under center, and the Saints secondary is the best he’s faced so far this season, so I don’t expect that number to go up unless he gets some sort of screen pass that he takes for a big gain. Darnell Mooney and the rest of the Bears receivers shouldn’t stand a chance against the rest of the Saints secondary given that their second leading receiver, Mooney, has just 255 yards this season.
The rushing attack for the Bears has been just as lackluster as the rest of their offense. Khalil Herbert is still on IR and D’onta Foreman has put together a few nice runs, but for the most part, he hasn’t been able to get going either. This is good news for a Saints defense that has struggled to slow down the run this season.
Chicago also allows the fifth most sacks per game, letting their QB get hit an average of 3.5 times per game. The Saints defense needs to ramp up their pass rush, and this could just be the week we see a massive game from the defensive front.
Overall, the Saints defense should have no problem shutting down this Bears offense. I’m not usually this confident in either unit playing well, but with Bagent under center, the Bears offense has looked pretty bad. Hopefully they can use this week to bounce back and get some momentum for the rest of the season, because right now, the offense seems to be gaining some traction.