Saints start 4th straight playoff run vs. resurgent Bears

CHICAGO (8-8) at NEW ORLEANS (12-4)

Sunday, 4:40 p.m. ET, CBS

OPENING LINE – Saints by 8

RECORD VS. SPREAD – Bears 8-8; Saints 9-6-1

SERIES RECORD – Saints lead 17-15

LAST MEETING – Saints beat Bears 26-23, OT, on Nov. 1, 2020 in Chicago

LAST WEEK – Bears lost to Packers 35-16; Saints beat Panthers 33-7

AP PRO32 RANKING – Bears No. 14, Saints No. 4

BEARS OFFENSE – OVERALL (26), RUSH (25), PASS (22).

BEARS DEFENSE – OVERALL (11), RUSH (15), PASS (12).

SAINTS OFFENSE – OVERALL (12), RUSH (6), PASS (19).

SAINTS DEFENSE – OVERALL (4), RUSH (4), PASS (5).

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Chicago is in the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. The Saints have won the NFC South Division four straight seasons, winning 49 regular-season games in that span. … The Bears have won both previous playoff meetings, which came at the end of the 1990 and 2006 seasons. The last playoff matchup came in the NFC championship in Chicago in QB Drew Brees’ first season in New Orleans. The first playoff meeting also took place in Chicago. … The Bears won three of their last four regular-season games. The Saints won 11 of their last 13. … QB Mitch Trubisky is expected to start for Chicago after being benched in favor of Nick Foles for part of this season. Trubisky has played in 10 games this season, but did not start or attempt a pass when he played against New Orleans. In his nine other games, he passed for 2,055 yards and 16 TDs against eight interceptions. The Bears went 6-3 in Trubisky’s starts. … The Bears joined the 1970 Cincinnati Bengals and 2014 Carolina Panthers as the only teams since the 1970 merger to reach the playoffs after a regular season marred by a six-game losing streak. That skid was Chicago’s worst since the 2002 team dropped eight straight. … The Bears were 1-6 against teams that had winning records in the regular season, the win coming against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers at Soldier Field on Oct. 8. … Chicago tied for 25th in the NFL in takeaways with 18 and for 23rd in differential at minus-4. … The Bears are tied for sixth in NFL at 31.2 points per game since Week 13. … RB David Montgomery ranked fifth in the NFL with a career-high 1,508 scrimmage yards (1,070 rushing, 438 receiving) and scored a personal-best 10 touchdowns (eight rushing, two receiving). … WR Allen Robinson led the Bears with 1,250 yards receiving on a career-high 102 receptions. … Bears WR Darnell Mooney ranked fifth among NFL rookies with 61 receptions. Mooney left last week’s game with an ankle injury. … Chicago LB Roquan Smith had a career-high 139 tackles and ranked second in the league with 18 tackles for loss. Smith exited last week with a left elbow injury. … Brees missed half of one game and all of four others with rib and lung injuries. He has played three games since returning to the active roster. He passed for 2,942 yards and 24 TDs against six interceptions this season. … Brees, who turns 42 on Jan. 15, is the NFL’s all-time leader in yards passing with 80,358. He became the first in NFL history this season to pass for 80,000 yards in a career. … RB Alvin Kamara led the Saints in yards rushing (932) and yards receiving (756) in 15 games. He also set Saints records for TDs rushing in a season with 15 and total TDs in a season with 21. Kamara missed the regular-season finale because of COVID-19 protocols but could be eligible to play Sunday. … Saints WR Michael Thomas missed the last three regular-season games and nine games in total this season because of a nagging ankle injury, but returned to practice this week. Thomas, the 2019 AP Offensive Player of the Year, has averaged 98.6 yards receiving per playoff appearance. … Saints DE Trey Hendrickson had a career-high 13 ½ sacks this season, tying for second in the NFL. … DE Cameron Jordan is the only player with at least seven sacks in each of the past nine seasons. … The 18 interceptions made by New Orleans’ defense tied for the NFL lead. … Fantasy tip: The Saints rushed for more yards as a team this season (2,265) than in any other since Sean Payton became coach in 2006. Either Kamara (if active) or fellow RB Latavius Murray, if not both, are bound to have a considerable role in the offensive game plan.

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