Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 4:00 PM
Watching Monday Night’s New Orleans Saints/Chicago Bears matchup on ESPN could end up being like watching a train wreck featuring two trains who have already wrecked! Both teams have played so far below expectations in recent weeks that it’s hard to know what to make of it. New Orleans is supposed to have one of the biggest home field advantage in all of sports, but they’re not even playing well at home let alone winning. Chicago had an offensive coordinator crying to his players this week because he threw them under the bus in media interviews. There’s no crying in Ditka’s City!
The main differences between the teams right now are:
*New Orleans at least has a past track record of success with their coach and QB
*New Orleans still has a shot to reach the playoffs in a horrible division
*Chicago is colder
For a sense of all the similarities, let’s study JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats for a game you want to win even if you don’t want to watch!
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
New Orleans: 5-8 (#21 schedule in USA Today)
Chicago: 5-8 (#11 schedule in USA Today)
Both teams have the same record. New Orleans is still the more highly regarded team in the markets even though they’ve managed the same record against the softer schedule. Part of that is because Chicago’s really derailed in recent weeks…and oddsmakers and top bettors do emphasize recent form in their analysis.
New Orleans: 6.1 on offense, 6.2 on defense
Chicago: 5.4 on offense, 6.0 on defense
Both teams have atrocious defenses. And, Chicago’s may actually be a bit worse than that because the poor turf at Soldier Field usually hurts offenses. Good offenses are moving the ball there anyway. Edge here to the Saints…because Drew Brees and company are at least having good performances every so often.
New Orleans: -9
Disaster here for both. You know that Jay Cutler of the Bears often has problems in this area. Brees has been forcing too many bad throws because of frustration. That issue is magnified because the Saints defense only has 13 takeaways this season. Brees has to play perfectly for the Saints to win…and he may have aged past the point where he can do that on command. Awful numbers for teams run by “offensive gurus” on the sidelines and led by veteran quarterbacks on the field.
New Orleans: 5-8 ATS
Chicago: 5-8 ATS
These teams are in lockstep! Both are 5-8 straight up and 5-8 ATS. New Orleans is 1-4 ATS its last five games after a disappointing but not yet disastrous start to their season. Chicago is 2-5 ATS its last seven games because they got to host inexperienced Minnesota and Tampa Bay. The other five games were all double digit straight up losses
Current Line: New Orleans by 3, total of 54
Tough call here. Given what we’ve just read, that’s a CRAZY number. There’s no way New Orleans should be seen as six points better on a neutral field than Chicago. On the other hand, New Orleans does occasionally play well, has clear motivation with first place at stake in their division, and is facing a team that hasn’t stayed within single digits against anyone besides Minnesota and Tampa Bay for a couple of months. Handicappers have to determine if THIS version of the Saints is a Vikings/Bucs caliber team that Chicago can actually beat…or if the Bears have thrown in the towel so hard on this season that this is a laydown that will be won by the visitor very easily.
JIM HURLEY has been working very closely with his on-site sources to get a read on the mindset of the Bears. That’s probably the whole story right there. If the players have given up on the coaching staff (which is reasonably likely), then the Saints are a virtual lock. If the players still have some pride left, or want to make a statement in a big TV game about their own abilities…then Chicago can win this one straight up.
DON’T MAKE A MOVE UNTIL YOU HEAR WHAT JIM HURLEY HAS TO SAY!
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Tomorrow kicks off our bowl coverage, as we provide early looks in some of Saturday’s college football action. NFL games will be played this week on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Well cover prime time games on those days. Here’s a look…
Tuesday: Early Look…Nevada vs. Louisiana-Lafayette in New Orleans Bowl
Wednesday: Early Look…Utah State vs. UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl
Thursday: NFL TV Preview…Tennessee at Jacksonville on the NFL Network
Friday: Early Look…Utah vs. Colorado State in the Las Vegas Bowl
Saturday: NFL TV Preview…San Diego at San Francisco on CBS
Sunday: NFL TV Preview…Seattle at Arizona on NBC
Next Monday: NFL TV Preview…Denver at Cincinnati on ESPN
The Saints and Bears may be train wrecks. But, JIM HURLEY will engineer your trip to the promised land with NON-STOP WINNERS through the rest of the football season!
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