The Bears & Saints are both dealing with defensive injuries ahead of their Wild Card contest


CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – DECEMBER 13: Buddy Howell #38 of the Houston Texans is gang-tackled by members of the Chicago Bears including Roquan Smith #58 and Jaylon Johnson #33 (R) at Soldier Field on December 13, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Texans 36-7. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

LAKE FOREST – The biggest conversations before this contest figured to be the team’s offenses.

The Saints remain one of the best in the NFL and with the addition of Michael Thomas to the lineup, they could be poised to end their 11-year championship drought. They’ll have versatile running back Alvin Kamara in the lineup to do so as he recovers from COVID-19 just in time for the game.

Meanwhile, the Bears are wondering if the offense that was scoring 30 points a game for a couple of weeks might come alive in time for a surprise playoff run.

Instead, the focus has been a lot on the defenses this week, especially when it comes to injuries. For Matt Nagy’s Bears, they’ve been plentiful.

Cornerback Buster Skrine has been ruled out once again as he continues to deal with the effects of a concussion that have kept him out the last four games. Starting middle linebacker Roquan Smith didn’t practice the entire week with an elbow injury suffered in the first half of the Packers’ game last Sunday.

He’s questionable along with cornerback Jaylon Johnson, who has been kept out since the win over the Texans in Week 14. Perhaps the news is a bit more encouraging for him since he was able to take part in limited practice all week.

On Friday, the Saints got a major blow of their own, and it came from a player who took part in their game just last week.

Defensive end Trey Hendrickson, who suffered a neck injury in Week 15, will be out as that has flared up during the week.

He’s one of the biggest surprises in the NFL in 2020, collecting 13 1/2 sacks during the season, which was tied for second in the league.

See more on the Bears on Chicago Football Weekly with Jarrett Payton and Lauren Magiera Saturday at 6 PM on WGN-TV.

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