I hate to rub it in, but this week’s been fantastic for me. Since silencing you with my Redskins pick last week, I’ve had strangers on the street stop me to shake my hand, mothers hand me their babies to kiss, and beautiful women holler at me from taxi cabs: “Hey, Peter, you handsome devil! Great call on Grossman!” I can’t lie — I’ve been floating on air.
This week, I’ll let you get all hot and bothered over Drew Brees’ passer rating and big Week 1 fantasy stats. I’ll stay grounded and focus on what really stood out in last Thursday night’s loss in Green Bay: that atrocious Saints defense. The New Orleans defensive backfield was lit up all evening by Aaron Rodgers, the defensive line couldn’t generate any pressure, and there was no run defense to be found. I’m fairly certain the Roman Harper-Malcolm Jenkins safety combo isn’t keeping any opposing quarterbacks awake on Saturday nights, and Shaun Rodgers was a complete non-factor. In the Saints’ past two games, they’ve given up 41 points to Seattle in last year’s wild-card-round playoff loss and 42 points to the Packers on Thursday night. Yuck.
Is Jay Cutler as precise a passer as Rodgers? Of course not. But he won’t have to be in this one. Cutler and Mike Martz will construct a sound game plan that exploits the Saints’ many defensive weaknesses. The quarterback and offensive coordinator are winners of 15 of 19 games together in Chicago, and they’ve got giant chips on their shoulders after a summer in which seemingly every pundit wrote their 2010 NFC North division title off as a fluke. Look for Cutler to strike Johnny Knox on a few long passes early, to get big production out of Matt Forte and Marion Barber in between the tackles, and to pick on that porous Saints defensive backfield all afternoon long.
Sure, Drew Brees is at home and on 10 days’ rest in this one. And yes, Darren Sproles will make a big play at some point. But in the end, I think the Chicago defense generates a few turnovers and ensures a Bears victory. Or the Saints defense does all it can to prevent a New Orleans one.
Schein, ever have a woman holler at you from a taxi cab? It’s a riveting feeling.
Maybe you’ll get to experience it someday. Not this week, though, pal. Gimme DA BEARS.