Saturday, 17 September 2011 09:56
New Orleans Saints Will Nip Chicago Bears In Close Game Without Colston
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ColstonThe Saints are favored over the Bears by 7 on Sunday at noon in the Superdome, but Chicago was sharper in its opening win over the Falcons while New Orleans lost to the Packers 42-34.

A Sean Payton-coached Saints team has never beaten the Bears in three previous meetings, all in Chicago.

Saints listed as “out” are K Garrett Hartley and WR Marques Colston. Questionable are CB Tracy Porter, DT Tom Johnson, S Roman Harper and WR Lance Moore.

S Chris Harris, RB Marion Barber and G Lance Lewis are doubtful for the Bears.

Bears linebacker Lance Briggs believes Saints versatile running back Darren Sproles could be a handful for the Bears defense.

"He's a fast guy with quick little feet," Briggs told the Chicago Tribune. "Reminds me of one of those old Scooby Doo cartons. The guy can fly."

Sunday is certain to be a challenge for Briggs and linebacker Brian Urlacher (who is expected to play) against Drew Brees and the high-powered Saints offense, which rolled up 477 yards in offense against the Packers.

"They put up a lot of yards last week," said Briggs. "And we're going to be tested in different ways than we were last week."

Brees won't have Colston, who is out with a broken collarbone but the quarerback still has capable weapons in receivers Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem and Moore (who is expected back), tight end Jimmy Graham and the running back combination of Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Sproles.

"They have two great offensive guards, just maulers, and I'm sure they'll utilize those guys as well," said Briggs, talking about Jahari Evans and Carl Nicks.

The Saints will be without defensive end Will Smith (NFL suspension) again and without him the Saints pass rush is only average. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler usually leads the league in getting sacked.

I don't see the Saints losing two in a row, so I'm picked them to win, but not cover the 7. Prediction: Saints 27, Bears 24.NFL picks: Chiefs +9 over Lions; NY Jets -9 over Jaguars; Bills -3 over Raiders; Redskins - 2 1/2 over Cardinals; Ravens -5 1/2 over Titans; Steelers -16 over Seahawks; Packers -10 over Panthers; Bucs +5 over Redskins;  Colts +2 over Browns;  Cowboys -3 over 49ers;  Texans - 3 over Dolphinsw;  Patriots -6 1/2 over Chargers;  Broncos - 3 1/2 over Bengals; Eagles - 2 1/2 over Falcons; and Rams + 6 over NY Giants. Last week: 3-7.

Colleges: UAB --13 over Tulane; Florida State + 4 (best bet) over Oklahoma;  Texas -3 over UCLA: Auburn +4 over Clemson;  Maryland -1 over West Virginia;  Miami -2 1/2 over The Ohio State; and Tennessee +9 1/2 over Florida. Last week: 9-1. Season: 18-3.

by Ed Staton

(Visit Louisiana Sports t\ to order you Matt Ingram jerseys and LSU/Oregon game shirts).
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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  


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