The Saints are coming off of a short week, thanks to a Monday Night Football victory, preparing to clash with the 3-1 Chicago Bears this Sunday at Soldier Field.
The Saints will be looking to go 5-0 for just the fourth time in franchise history, and quarterback Drew Brees will be looking for a little payback, since he is personally 0-4 playing games in Chicago with the Saints.
“You can say the weather conditions, turf versus grass, especially like Soldier Field,” Brees said. “It’s not like going and playing on grass in Arizona. It’s thicker. It looks like it’s going to rain there all week. It’s probably going to be a muddy, kind of nasty surface. So, you’ve just got to be prepared for all those things. The game, as far as in and out of your cuts, things are a little slower. You just have to account for all those things so you know what to expect and you can prepare for it. I think you put your mind in the right place.”
The four games Brees and head coach Sean Payton have lost in Chicago have all come in the months of December and January. The weather will likely be the least of the Saints worries Sunday. Wednesday, the team carefully studied film documenting how the Bears consistently manage to force turnovers.
“The team we are playing in Chicago is the top in the league at taking the ball away, and then they offensively have capitalized too,” Payton said. “It’s not a new formula, and yet every year it is a telling statistic and it will be in this game as well. They lead the league right now in forced fumbles. They have forced 12 fumbles in four games. That is an average of three a game. They are exceptional at it. It is not by accident. “
Former University of Louisiana Lafayette star Charles Tillman leads the Bears effort in dismantling opponents’ attempts at ball security.
“Cornerback Charles Tillman is as good as there has been in our game at forcing fumbles,” Payton said. “He has 40 forced fumbles right now in his career.”
The Bears are also proficient at insuring they convert turnovers into points. Meanwhile the Saints are not accustomed to turning the ball over, and so far this season have protected the ball well.
“It’s going to be a physical game against a physical team,” Brees acknowledged. “They do a lot of things very, very well defensively. You see it in the way they play. They preach flying to the ball, hitting you hard, trying to get the ball out. They do it better than anybody in the league. So, it’s something we’ve got to be prepared for.”