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Analyzing NFL playoffs: 49ers vs. Saints

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Analyzing NFL playoffs: 49ers vs. Saints

As the Bears walk through their hiring processes general manager, passing-game coordinatorQB coach the NFL has some business to do this weekend. The games dont involve the Bears but there is rarely a game played somewhere that doesnt have something of interest for the Bears.

Besides, theyre worth analyzing, too. The home teams won all four of the wild-card games and all four will win the divisional games as well (this isnt home-field-advantage thing, incidentally teams have home games because they have better records because they actually are better):

New Orleans at San Francisco (Sat. 3:30 p.m.)

Maybe the most fun matchup of the weekend. The Saints throw the ball exquisitely and have three Pro Bowlers on their offensive line. The 49ers stop just about everything, giving up less than 11 points per game at home.

All three of New Orleans losses came on the road and the Saints are 0-4 in road playoff games; San Francisco lost just once at home but hasnt been in the playoffs since 2002.

The 49ers run the ball well (129 yards per game) with Frank Gore, and the Saints, for all of their offensive pyrotechnics, have given up nearly five touchdowns (34 points) per game in their last three road playoff games.

Bears fans should keep an eye on this one. Besides Jim Harbaugh as San Franciscos coach (and dead-solid lock for coach of the year), Saints wide receiver Marques Colston is an unrestricted free agent. So is San Francisco cornerback Carlos Rodgers. Two of the Bears top three need positions going into this offseason.

Visualize those guys in Bears uniforms as you watch a late David Akers field goal:

San Francisco 23 New Orleans 20

Report: NFL, NFLPA close to signing updated CBA with COVID-19 conditions

Report: NFL, NFLPA close to signing updated CBA with COVID-19 conditions

The NFL could be one step closer to returning, soon. According to Ian Rapoport, the NFL and NFLPA are close to signing their updated collective bargaining agreement for playing in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two sides agreed to a new CBA back in March but came back to the table to revise after the global pandemic hit the United States hard.

This news comes after the NFLPA player representatives voted 29-3 in favor of the changes on Friday.

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The new deal allows for 16-man practice squads, no preseason games for 2020, and high-risk and voluntary opt-outs for players. According to Tom Pelissero, high-risk players who opt out will receive a $350,000 stipend. Voluntary opt-outs for non-high-risk players will receive a $150,000 salary advance. Contracts will toll in each case, meaning it will be treated as a regular year of service time.

According to Ian Rapoport, training camp will now include a 20-day ramp-up period with no more than 14 padded practices.

In addition, Rapoport reports that rosters will need to be trimmed down to 80 players by Aug. 16, and no more than 80 people will be allowed in team buildings at a time.

"The NFL clubs and the NFL Players Association approved an agreement that broadly resolves all outstanding issues relating to the opening of training camps and start of the 2020 season," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "Training camps will begin as scheduled.

"We have worked collaboratively to develop a comprehensive set of protocols designed to minimize risk for fans, players, and club and league personnel. These plans have been guided by the medical directors of the NFL and the NFLPA and have been reviewed and endorsed by independent medical and public health experts, including the CDC, and many state and local public health officials.

“The season will undoubtedly present new and additional challenges, but we are committed to playing a safe and complete 2020 season, culminating with the Super Bowl."


RELATED: Success of Bears' coronavirus 'bubble' rests on player responsibility

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COVID-19 concerns cause Bears' Jordan Lucas to opt-out of 2020 NFL season

COVID-19 concerns cause Bears' Jordan Lucas to opt-out of 2020 NFL season

The Bears announced a handful of moves on Monday morning, with the most notable being that safety Jordan Lucas has decided to opt-out of the 2020 NFL season. 

Lucas is the second player on the roster to opt-out, along with defensive tackle Eddie Goldman. The safety signed as a free agent back in March, having previously spent time mostly as a special teams guy for the Dolphins and Chiefs. 

Additionally, the team announced that defensive tackle John Jenkins and tight end Eric Saubert have both been taken off the reserve/COVID-19 list. Jenkins will be tasked with filling much of the role that Goldman's absence creates. 

Lastly, the team waived offensive lineman Dino Boyd. An undrafted free agent who originally signed with Kansas City in 2019, Boyd spent the final seven weeks of 2019 as a member of the Bears' practice squad.