The Chicago Bears have done a lot to earn their 5-1 record up to this point. The defense has played great. Special teams has looked solid and the offense did just enough when they’ve had to. Yet nobody can discount how extraordinarily fortunate they’ve been in regards to the health issues their opponents have suffered.
Think about this. Detroit didn’t have Kenny Golladay when the Bears played them. Atlanta didn’t have Julio Jones. Saquon Barkley tore his ACL minutes into the Giants game. Chris Godwin wasn’t available for the Buccaneers and Christian McCaffrey was out for the Carolina Panthers. It’s an incredible string of talent the Bears defense didn’t have to deal with.
Now it appears that streak could continue.
Following their Monday night clash with the Rams, Chicago will return home for a rematch with the New Orleans Saints. A team that beat them soundly last year. Except this time around the Saints may not have their best weapon available. According to Adam Schefter, there is a real chance superstar receiver Michael Thomas will miss the game due to a serious hamstring injury.
“Thomas already has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers, and there’s a real chance he will not be able to play next week against the Chicago Bears either, according to sources.”
Saints’ WR Michael Thomas (hamstring) in jeopardy of missing Week 8 game vs. Bears:https://t.co/G5Vk45pAuc
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 25, 2020
Chicago Bears had no answer for Thomas last year
Like it or not, this is great news for the Bears. Thomas is one of the best receivers in the game. He’s coming off a season where he topped 1700 yards. This despite not having Drew Brees for five games. One of those games was against the Bears where Teddy Bridgewater still found him for 131 yards on nine catches. He was a machine even that defense couldn’t stop.
Not having him will unquestionably hamper the Saints. Brees hasn’t looked like the quarterback he’s been in years past. His numbers still look good but he’s been aided by playing mostly pedestrian defenses to start this year. Tampa Bay held him to just 160 yards in the opener. Having Sean Payton calling plays has really helped mask how limited he is.
Not having Thomas has shined a light on it too.
That entire situation is odd. Thomas has dealt with multiple injuries this season already. He was also suspended for a game due to a confrontation that happened in practice. Rumors have swirled the Saints would consider trading the All-Pro if the right offer came up. Something Payton steadfastly refuted. This despite clear evidence the team has gigantic financial problems ahead in 2021.
Either way, the Chicago Bears can’t worry about that. New Orleans is still a talented football team even without their star receiver. They’ll have to play a good game for 60 minutes in order to beat a team of that caliber. Something they’ve struggled at times to do this season. Then again the Bears of 2019 were far different from this group.
While not pretty, this 2020 version is far grittier and far more physical. They thrive in close games and loved to harass quarterbacks. Combined with the steady leadership of Nick Foles? It should be a different game next week.