NFL Playoffs: If Kamara and Thomas return for Saints, Bears looking at a long day

Drew Brees overcame rib injuries and a collapsed lung this season. His immunity to pressure -- especially in the postseason -- should help the Saints prevail. Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

No. 7 Bears at No. 2 Saints

Sunday, 4:40 p.m. ET | CBS

Matchup rating: 65.2 | Spread: NO -9.5 (47.5)

What to watch for: The Saints could potentially get both wide receiver Michael Thomas and running back Alvin Kamara back in the lineup as they look to finally peak at the right time after three consecutive years of painful playoff exits. And this could be quarterback Drew Brees' last chance to get back to a second Super Bowl, since he might retire after this season. Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky, meanwhile, might need an impressive playoff performance to extend his career in Chicago as he heads toward free agency. -- Mike Triplett

Bold prediction: Saints playmakers Kamara and Thomas will return to score three combined touchdowns. So much focus is on Trubisky and the Bears' flighty offense, but Chicago's defense has worn down in recent weeks. The Bears' pass rush has been virtually nonexistent at times, even with Khalil Mack. Further complicating matters is the left elbow injury suffered last week by the Bears' best all-around defender, linebacker Roquan Smith. Chicago's defense appears to be in real trouble again. -- Jeff Dickerson

Stat to know: Bears running back David Montgomery has scored a rushing touchdown in five straight games, the longest streak by a Bear since 1990 (when Neal Anderson had five). The Bears' offense as a whole scored 31.2 points per game over the final five weeks of the season, tied with the Saints for sixth in the NFL.

Injuries: Bears | Saints

Matt Bowen's game key: New Orleans needs to look for Kamara as a passing-game option when he is flexed from the formation in empty sets. Clear out the boundary and create that space for Kamara to run the choice/option route on a high-percentage throw for Brees. Read more.

Betting nugget: The most recent time the Bears covered in a game in which they were a 7.5-plus-point underdog was November 2017 ... against the Saints. Read more.

Dickerson's pick: Saints 30, Bears 21

Triplett's pick: Saints 26, Bears 19

FPI prediction: NO, 78.9% (by an average of 10.6 points)

Matchup must-reads: Bears, Trubisky enter postseason with "nothing to lose" attitude ... "Last Dance?" Why it's vital for Brees, Saints to win now ... Source: Kamara joins remotely for Bears prep