Chicago Bears

Bears open as favorites in Week 7 vs. Saints

Bears open as favorites in Week 7 vs. Saints

The best thing that can happen to a team coming off of a disappointing loss like the Bears suffered in Week 5 to the Oakland Raiders is time away. Time to get back to basics, work on improving some deficiencies and, sometimes, just getting out of the national spotlight.

The Bears (3-2) will welcome the Saints (5-1) to Soldier Field in Week 7 in a game that would seem to favor New Orleans. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has excelled in relief of Drew Brees, who continues to rehab a thumb injury that will keep him out of Sunday's contest in Chicago. The Saints' defense has been fantastic as well and currently ranks 10th overall in yards allowed per game.

Chicago, meanwhile, is hoping for quarterback Mitch Trubisky's return from a left shoulder injury and is likely to be without Kyle Long (hip; injured reserve) and Akiem Hicks (elbow).

Logic would dictate that New Orleans will be a road favorite in this one, but that isn't the case. At least, not yet.

The Bears open the week as a 3.5-point favorite, which even when factoring the three-point edge home teams usually get still means the oddsmakers like Chicago to win the game outright.

Bears fans may still have the sour taste of defeat after the London letdown, but there are a lot of smart people in Las Vegas who obviously think the Bears have a chance (a really, really good chance) to win Sunday's NFC showdown.

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Mitch Trubisky working hard toward Week 7 return

Mitch Trubisky working hard toward Week 7 return

The Bears' bye week is over, which means it's time to get back to work and prepare for Week 7's matchup against the New Orleans Saints.

According to coach Matt Nagy, one player — quarterback Mitch Trubisky — didn't take any time off.

Speaking with Josh Liss of WBBM Newsradio Chicago on Monday, Nagy confirmed Trubisky spent his bye week strengthening his injured left shoulder.

"He was in here working out, every day he's trying to get that (shoulder) stronger and stronger, so that'll be the big question for us," Nagy said of Trubisky's status for Sunday. "We'll see how it goes here, really this whole week, but we're excited for him. We know every day helps us out to get him back, so we'll see where it ends up going."

Trubisky and the Bears passing offense will be the primary target for critics the rest of the way this season, especially after Week 6's marquee showdown between Patrick Mahomes and DeShaun Watson, the two quarterbacks GM Ryan Pace passed on to select the former North Carolina star.

Nagy said he and the rest of the coaching staff used the week off to sharpen their focus.

"It's always good to kind of reload and reflect on where you're at right now and I think we all got a chance to do that, so it's nice to get back in here and get after it."

The Bears will be without a key piece on offense in their attempt to get back to the playoffs in 2019. Nagy confirmed guard Kyle Long will be placed on injured reserve (hip). Long's struggles in 2019 have been well-documented and something had to give. Unfortunately, we now know it's Long's health that's failed him again. 

"That's where it's at and I want to credit him for battling through an injury and it is a tough loss," Nagy said of Long. "It's a part of the game, we understand that, he understands it and we just gotta keep plugging away."

It's quite possible Long has played his last game as a Chicago Bear.

One player who hasn't played his last game with the Bears is Akiem Hicks. But has he played his last game of 2019? Nagy wouldn't provide a timetable for his return, but don't expect the 2018 Pro Bowler to be back anytime soon.

"We're still working through all the logistics on that. It was a pretty good injury he got there. We're hoping that he's definitely able to return here by the season's end."

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Akiem Hicks reveals the word that 'makes his skin crawl'

Akiem Hicks reveals the word that 'makes his skin crawl'

Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks is not immune to the same emotional response that fans have been suffering through since the team's wild-card loss to the Eagles during the 2018 NFL playoffs.

Chicago was one kick away; one kick from advancing to the divisional round and a date with the Los Angeles Rams. Instead, Cody Parkey missed the game-winning field goal and the Bears' season was over. Just like that.

And as if the missed kick wasn't bad enough, the way in which it fell painfully to the ground created its own moniker: the double-doink.

Say that simple phrase around any Bears fan and you're certain to elicit a response. It won't be pretty, either. 

During Week 6's Sunday Night Football game between the Steelers and Chargers, Hicks shared on Twitter that even his skin crawls anytime he hears the word doink.

Hicks, who's become one of the NFL's best all-around defensive linemen during his four-year tenure with the Bears, is also one of the team's fan-favorites. This kind of emotional connection with the fanbase will only elevate that status.

Whether the Bears defense will have Hicks back before the end of the season is still a great unknown. He suffered a dislocated elbow in Week 5's loss to the Raiders; we'll learn more about his status once the team returns to Halas Hall.

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