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This is why I'm nervous starting P. Thomas this week... (1 Viewer)

LondonGold

Footballguy
In 2008...

....only 4 times has a RB received 15 or more carries against the Bears (ADP 2, Grant 1, Turner 1)

....only 3 times has a RB reached 100 yards rushing (ADP 2, Grant 1)...after that, the next highest amounts of rushing yards by any RB vs the Bears were 77, 66, 55, 54

....only 1 time has a RB caught a receiving TD against the Bears

....not once has a RB reached 50 yards receiving against the Bears

....only in 3 games have the Bears given up more than 1 rushing TD to a team

....there have been 4 games in which a RB did not score a TD at all (rushing or receiving) against the Bears

It wouldn't be so bad if Thomas were the main RB, but with Bush getting a significant number of carries, I am very concerned about his numbers this week.

Any reason to see it differently?

 
Any reason to see it differently?
The Bears have not faced an offense as explosive as the Saints?
So what. This is about Thomas not the Saints offense as a whole. If thomas isnt working then the Saints have options to do something else.
I think his point is that the Bears can't focus on Thomas because they have to defend such a dynamic offense, which allows Thomas more room to operate when he gets the ball.
 
I'm also a little worried because of that stout Bears D (except for the week they let the Pack push them around like no one's business). Thomas seemed to do really well on runs where the Falcons were overplaying the pass, but I'm not sure the Bears will need to guard against deep passes in the cold and 10-15 mph winds at Soldier Field.

There's always a chance that Thomas gets 4 or 5 catches and a rushing TD, but I don't think he'll come anywhere near his numbers from last week. Payton is way too quick to abandon the run, and that's actually a decent plan vs. the Bears anyway.

More thoughts after I finish projections.

 
Any reason to see it differently?
The Bears have not faced an offense as explosive as the Saints?
The Saints haven't really been explosive for at least a few weeks. Brees is doing a lot more dinking and dunking. The big plays last week were a long run by Bush and a catch and run by Henderson (in addition to a long KO return by Thomas). The Saints did not tear apart the inexperienced Falcons secondary, they bled them to death with well timed short passes and run calls against pass defenses.
 
Any reason to see it differently?
The Bears have not faced an offense as explosive as the Saints?
So what. This is about Thomas not the Saints offense as a whole. If thomas isnt working then the Saints have options to do something else.
When you have to game plan against an offense putting up 28 ppg and a QB who puts the ball in the air 39 times a game for 310 yards, 2 TDs and a 95+ QB rating it may force a defense to commit a little more effort to dealing with that rather than focusing on the running game. That could open up some room in the running game.It seems similar to Ryan Grant who had a big game against them and some of that had to do with the fact that Chi was forced to game plan significantly against the impressive GB passing game.He asked for reasons and that seems like as good of one as any.
 
In 2008.......only 4 times has a RB received 15 or more carries against the Bears (ADP 2, Grant 1, Turner 1)....only 3 times has a RB reached 100 yards rushing (ADP 2, Grant 1)...after that, the next highest amounts of rushing yards by any RB vs the Bears were 77, 66, 55, 54....only 1 time has a RB caught a receiving TD against the Bears....not once has a RB reached 50 yards receiving against the Bears....only in 3 games have the Bears given up more than 1 rushing TD to a team....there have been 4 games in which a RB did not score a TD at all (rushing or receiving) against the BearsIt wouldn't be so bad if Thomas were the main RB, but with Bush getting a significant number of carries, I am very concerned about his numbers this week.Any reason to see it differently?
When has Reggie gotten a "signifcant" number of carries this year? I can tell you. NEVER. The most carries he's had in a game has been 18. Reggie is not your typical RB who carries the ball 20-25 times per game. Pierre Thomas though, is exactly that kind of back. He's proved it a couple of times. Who's been getting more carries since Bush has been back? Who's had more TDs since Bush has been back. Who's the better play this weekend against the Bears? The answer to all of those questions is Pierre Thomas. My point is Reggie IS NOT the main RB in New Orleans right now.That being said, the Bears are a stout run defensive team, but with how explosive the offense is, I still think PT can rack up 80-100 yards and a possible score. A lot will also depend on what the weather is like. If it's cold, I would bet the Saints keep it on the ground with their "main" RB, not Reggie.JMO, and good luck
 
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My reason is the fact that they want to give him the kick return role. Obviously that 88yd return last week showed his explosiveness but I still don't see them giving him this role if they planned to hand off to him 20 times. If I'm reading between the lines correctly, they're saying "we'll be passing loads against that 28th ranked Pass D so lets get PR involved in other areas"

 
....only 4 times has a RB received 15 or more carries against the Bears (ADP 2, Grant 1, Turner 1)

....only 3 times has a RB reached 100 yards rushing (ADP 2, Grant 1)...after that, the next highest amounts of rushing yards by any RB vs the Bears were 77, 66, 55, 54

....only 1 time has a RB caught a receiving TD against the Bears

....not once has a RB reached 50 yards receiving against the Bears

....only in 3 games have the Bears given up more than 1 rushing TD to a team

....there have been 4 games in which a RB did not score a TD at all (rushing or receiving) against the Bears
I know the TB DEF had given up only one rush TD before the DWill/Stew explosion Monday...but, I tend to roll with stats, as this is all a game of chance.

That being said, P.Thomas was banging it between the tackles on a previously overperforming ATL DEF. I just can't see him with much success between the tackles on a cold day in CHI. The bolded stats above are where I thought Pierre could do some real damage, but (as noted above) RB catches may not be that plentiful and ReBush is another receiving option that Pierre has to share with.

I know the Saints 'could' go off...they always can. I just think that on the road, outside, against a Bears team ready to push into the playoffs, there's not alot to like.

I agree with Bloom that Pierre could/should get the goalline chance(s)?, but I just don't love the odds of getting their often or him scoring in other ways.

Hoping to make it to week 16 so I can use him then....

 
The Saints will run just enough to keep the Bears honest but they will be more affective through the air and thats how I think the coach will game plan unless the weather screws that up.

 
Judging by all of the Thomas threads the past 2 days, you're not alone. Alot of PT owners are nervous about this game, including me. Vegas is expecting alot of points in this game as the over/under is currently 45pts. However, the question is if Pierre gets a good amount of the NO offensive production or does most of the production end up in the passing game, which I'm assuming will feature Bush more from the RB spot rather than Thomas. If I had clearly better options of course I'd use them. However, my other options this week are Lynch @ NYJ, Ronnie vs 49ers, or K. Smith vs IND. None of those seem particularly compelling either.

It may just come down to the fact that I can watch Pierre on TV tomorrow nite....

 
He starts for me until his production gives me a good reason to sit him.
That's all well and good, but we're trying to be proactive here. Not reactive. If he has a poor game we're playing in the 3rd place game instead of the championship. That's the point.
 
I can't find it right off the bat but didn't the Bears just give up a fair amount of rushing yardage (total) to a pretty inept

Jaguars team at home? I like PT's chances on a short week (and there has been no shortage of points

on Thursday's games),Brees opening up running lanes with the pass,recent redzone love,active in the check down game,

solid #'s against the Bears Week 17 '07,Illini alum,etc.. just my 2 cents..

 
He starts for me until his production gives me a good reason to sit him.
That's all well and good, but we're trying to be proactive here. Not reactive. If he has a poor game we're playing in the 3rd place game instead of the championship. That's the point.
Absolutely but all we can do is look at the data and make our own judgments. Mine says that the Saints are an offense that should be heavily represented in fantasy leagues across the nation.Thomas, Bush, Brees, Moore, Hartley and even Colston should be in starting lineups.
 
I can't find it right off the bat but didn't the Bears just give up a fair amount of rushing yardage (total) to a pretty ineptJaguars team at home? I like PT's chances on a short week (and there has been no shortage of pointson Thursday's games),Brees opening up running lanes with the pass,recent redzone love,active in the check down game,solid #'s against the Bears Week 17 '07,Illini alum,etc.. just my 2 cents..
Yeup, and Ryan Grant ripped them to shreds as well.
 
I can't find it right off the bat but didn't the Bears just give up a fair amount of rushing yardage (total) to a pretty ineptJaguars team at home? I like PT's chances on a short week (and there has been no shortage of pointson Thursday's games),Brees opening up running lanes with the pass,recent redzone love,active in the check down game,solid #'s against the Bears Week 17 '07,Illini alum,etc.. just my 2 cents..
Bush is active in the checkdown game not Pierre. Thomas has three total targets the last two games compared to 15 for Bush. However two of Thomas' receptions went for TDs.
 
The uncertainty and likelihood of a fired-up Chicago D at home has me looking (cringe) Ronnie Brown's direction. I have Chris Johnson, Bush, Thomas, and RB to put into 2 slots, so SF, in Miami, is looking like a better matchup. I'm just hoping RB can top 70 friggin yards this game. I like what I've seen from Thomas the last few weeks, but my gut is telling me beware of this game. I'll probably end up wrong, but that wouldn't be the first time.

Now NEXT week, I'm almost positive I'll be putting both Bush and Thomas in, barring injury. Both should have a field day against Detroit and I like that over the prospects of CJ vs. PIT. Now if Brown has a good day against SF, that would make the NO-backfield strategy tough to do over RB vs. KC. I'll have to look at how all 3 look this week. I'm playing a game next week either way - either championship or 3rd/4th place game, so yes, I'm thinking a little ahead.

 
He starts for me until his production gives me a good reason to sit him.
That's all well and good, but we're trying to be proactive here. Not reactive. If he has a poor game we're playing in the 3rd place game instead of the championship. That's the point.
I get that but my point is he's playing at a very high level and he's produced well whenever he's gotten a chance to play this season. At this point in the season it will take an awful lot for me to bench a player who, week in and week out, is producing and is currently producing at a very high level. If I'm going to lose, I'm going to lose with my best guys. And right now Pierre Thomas is a very good fantasy RB so he will continue to start for me. That's my point.
 
It seems to me that the only chance NO has to win is through the air. Chicago run D has been great (mostly) at home and below average on road. I don't have a good feeling about PT opportunities tomorrow night. I think Reggie will be the featured back, but via his pass catching abilities and not the run.

I initially was going to start Pierre over JStew, but not now. Just one of those gut feelings. :goodposting:

 
A lot of good alternatives are being thrown out here: JStew,Ronnie B,etc but a majority of us don't have that

talent to choose from. I mean,if your trying to decide between the likes of Ward (possibly starting instead of Jacobs),

MBIII/Choice,Fargas,Lynch or Kevin Smith you really have to take a long hard look at starting Pierre. I'm just referring

to general players here but these are all mid range starts this week and PT has the hot hand.

 
I am sure that Chicago is going to be much more focused on stopping Drew Brees, and the Saints passing attack, than they are about stopping their running game. Thomas should be fine. Chicago is already known to drop their LB's back in coverage A LOT against good passing offenses, and that really opens up the running game and screen passes.

 
I'm playing Turner and Pierre this weekend. Over Ronnie and Leon. If I lose because of it then so be it.

It's not as though he's hurt, the offense isn't working or he's been cold as of late. I see no reason whatsoever to bench Pierre.

 
WiDDoW_MaKeR said:
I am sure that Chicago is going to be much more focused on stopping Drew Brees, and the Saints passing attack, than they are about stopping their running game. Thomas should be fine. Chicago is already known to drop their LB's back in coverage A LOT against good passing offenses, and that really opens up the running game and screen passes.
That's some bad advice you're doling out there, son. Everybody knows Chicago stops the run and is gashed by the pass.
 
In 2008.......only 4 times has a RB received 15 or more carries against the Bears (ADP 2, Grant 1, Turner 1)....only 3 times has a RB reached 100 yards rushing (ADP 2, Grant 1)...after that, the next highest amounts of rushing yards by any RB vs the Bears were 77, 66, 55, 54....only 1 time has a RB caught a receiving TD against the Bears....not once has a RB reached 50 yards receiving against the Bears....only in 3 games have the Bears given up more than 1 rushing TD to a team....there have been 4 games in which a RB did not score a TD at all (rushing or receiving) against the BearsIt wouldn't be so bad if Thomas were the main RB, but with Bush getting a significant number of carries, I am very concerned about his numbers this week.Any reason to see it differently?
I'm with you. I'd start Thomas if I had to. But I'm able to switch back to Clinton Portis now that he's healthy. I was still on the fence until Portis made the stink about not enough game time. Now I'm all in.
 
Starting PT with confidence. Moore is the one I'm struggling with.
id be inclined to start them both. im starting thomas over b jacobs cuz i dont have the luxury of waiting for more info on jacobs...plus ill be at the game with pointy nipples.
 
I think he's been too good to sit and I also think he is still a bit under the radar when it comes to game planning.

 
Does anyone know for sure that Thomas will do the kick returns tonight? We get points for return yards and that would go a long way in my decision process on if I start him or not.

 
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In 2008.......only 4 times has a RB received 15 or more carries against the Bears (ADP 2, Grant 1, Turner 1)....only 3 times has a RB reached 100 yards rushing (ADP 2, Grant 1)...after that, the next highest amounts of rushing yards by any RB vs the Bears were 77, 66, 55, 54....only 1 time has a RB caught a receiving TD against the Bears....not once has a RB reached 50 yards receiving against the Bears....only in 3 games have the Bears given up more than 1 rushing TD to a team....there have been 4 games in which a RB did not score a TD at all (rushing or receiving) against the BearsIt wouldn't be so bad if Thomas were the main RB, but with Bush getting a significant number of carries, I am very concerned about his numbers this week.Any reason to see it differently?
When has Reggie gotten a "signifcant" number of carries this year? I can tell you. NEVER. The most carries he's had in a game has been 18. Reggie is not your typical RB who carries the ball 20-25 times per game. Pierre Thomas though, is exactly that kind of back. He's proved it a couple of times. Who's been getting more carries since Bush has been back? Who's had more TDs since Bush has been back. Who's the better play this weekend against the Bears? The answer to all of those questions is Pierre Thomas. My point is Reggie IS NOT the main RB in New Orleans right now.That being said, the Bears are a stout run defensive team, but with how explosive the offense is, I still think PT can rack up 80-100 yards and a possible score. A lot will also depend on what the weather is like. If it's cold, I would bet the Saints keep it on the ground with their "main" RB, not Reggie.JMO, and good luck
I think you may be drinking too much of the Pierre Thomas kool-aid. Undoubtedly, he has run the ball great and has been a pleasant surprise for many owners. Where you start to lose me is when you take his recent success and translate that into instant success against the Bears. I think the Saints will gameplan to attack the Bears through the air....that is the strength of the Saints team and the weakness of the Bears. It seems to me that Bush is more involved in the pass game that Thomas. I have to think Bush has a greater chance of fantasy production tonight than Thomas does....simply because I don't anticipate the Saints running the ball very often.
 
From the CBS page

News: Chicago native Pierre Thomas goes into the Windy City on Thursday night to face the Bears. Thomas is the Saints' leading rusher with 461 yards, and he has nine touchdowns, including seven rushing. Last year at Chicago, Thomas was making his first NFL start because Deuce McAllister, Reggie Bush and Aaron Stecker were all injured. Thomas ran for 105 yards and caught 12 passes for 121 yards and an 11-yard TD in a 33-25 loss. He became the first player in Saints' history to have 100 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards in the same game and his 226 total yards was the third-most in club history.

Analysis: Look for Thomas to stay hot. The Bears are No. 6 in run defense but they have allowed 13 rushing touchdowns. Thomas will share time with Reggie Bush, but he should still be considered a good No. 3 Fantasy RB or flex option this week.

 
From the CBS page

News: Chicago native Pierre Thomas goes into the Windy City on Thursday night to face the Bears. Thomas is the Saints' leading rusher with 461 yards, and he has nine touchdowns, including seven rushing. Last year at Chicago, Thomas was making his first NFL start because Deuce McAllister, Reggie Bush and Aaron Stecker were all injured. Thomas ran for 105 yards and caught 12 passes for 121 yards and an 11-yard TD in a 33-25 loss. He became the first player in Saints' history to have 100 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards in the same game and his 226 total yards was the third-most in club history.

Analysis: Look for Thomas to stay hot. The Bears are No. 6 in run defense but they have allowed 13 rushing touchdowns. Thomas will share time with Reggie Bush, but he should still be considered a good No. 3 Fantasy RB or flex option this week.
All you need to know...
 
I'll have to start him over Brandon Jacobs and Marion Barber. I can't take the chance that they don't play.

Stupid Thursday night games. Doesn't the NFL know it harms fantasy football players? Shanahan must be behind this.

 
From the CBS page

News: Chicago native Pierre Thomas goes into the Windy City on Thursday night to face the Bears. Thomas is the Saints' leading rusher with 461 yards, and he has nine touchdowns, including seven rushing. Last year at Chicago, Thomas was making his first NFL start because Deuce McAllister, Reggie Bush and Aaron Stecker were all injured. Thomas ran for 105 yards and caught 12 passes for 121 yards and an 11-yard TD in a 33-25 loss. He became the first player in Saints' history to have 100 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards in the same game and his 226 total yards was the third-most in club history.

Analysis: Look for Thomas to stay hot. The Bears are No. 6 in run defense but they have allowed 13 rushing touchdowns. Thomas will share time with Reggie Bush, but he should still be considered a good No. 3 Fantasy RB or flex option this week.
All you need to know...
God knows CBS has been wrong many times before....like the day turner had 4 tds and last week with rivers.....but I believe this week! I benched PT the last two weeks while he did pretty well....if he lays an egg this week you can all blame me for starting him.
 
When has Reggie gotten a "signifcant" number of carries this year? I can tell you. NEVER. The most carries he's had in a game has been 18.
Do the other years not count? Or are you ignoring them because PT was a rookie last seaosn, and not on the team previously (obviously)And where does the magic 18 come from? I'm just curious about that, we used to talk about 15 per game, and even if a player gets 18 per game it's not 300 on the season....

Reggie is not your typical RB who carries the ball 20-25 times per game. Pierre Thomas though, is exactly that kind of back. He's proved it a couple of times. Who's been getting more carries since Bush has been back? Who's had more TDs since Bush has been back.
You know that Bush does have a couple 20+ carry games, right? But I digress, Bush has been back for all of two games, and it was rumored he came back a little early. Obviously in the first game they were just seeing if he was able to play, 3 carries only. This last game they increased his workload, and he was awesome.It should be noted, that early in the season, when Bush was healthy, Thomas saw little work - even in the first three games where McAllister wasn't back yet. Bush saw more rush attempts in every game than Thomas prior to his injury, and had a higher YPC in all but 3 of those games.

Who's the better play this weekend against the Bears? The answer to all of those questions is Pierre Thomas. My point is Reggie IS NOT the main RB in New Orleans right now.
Well that point is obvious, PT got the start the last two games. Reggie is working his way back in from injury. :thumbdown:
That being said, the Bears are a stout run defensive team, but with how explosive the offense is, I still think PT can rack up 80-100 yards and a possible score. A lot will also depend on what the weather is like. If it's cold, I would bet the Saints keep it on the ground with their "main" RB, not Reggie.
I would expect that the Saints know that pounding the ball on the Bears has rarely led to success, and is not the strength of their offense in the first place.I don't really think any of the Saints RBs are great pays this week, but if I had to choose one, I would go with the more explosive RB, which is clearly Bush.

 
Unless theres some real bad weather, the Saints are going to pass 2/3rds more than they run tonight.

The Bears secondary is banged up and Brees is going to tear them up..

 
WiDDoW_MaKeR said:
I am sure that Chicago is going to be much more focused on stopping Drew Brees, and the Saints passing attack, than they are about stopping their running game. Thomas should be fine. Chicago is already known to drop their LB's back in coverage A LOT against good passing offenses, and that really opens up the running game and screen passes.
That's some bad advice you're doling out there, son. Everybody knows Chicago stops the run and is gashed by the pass.
Against your normal balanced offense... you're right. However, the Saints aren't exactly a balanced offense. They are very pass heavy, and are much more of a threat in their passing game, than they are in their running game. Also, The Saints spread the field a lot, forcing defenses to cover more receivers. So, of course... going into this game, the Bears coaching staff isn't saying "now... all we have to do is stack the line, stop Pierre Thomas, and force Drew Brees to beat us throwing the ball".The fact that Chicago is so awful against the pass, will only force them to keep even more people in coverage against a passing team like the Saints. Remember what Ryan Grant did when Chicago had to try and compensate for Green Bay's passing game?
 
WiDDoW_MaKeR said:
I am sure that Chicago is going to be much more focused on stopping Drew Brees, and the Saints passing attack, than they are about stopping their running game. Thomas should be fine. Chicago is already known to drop their LB's back in coverage A LOT against good passing offenses, and that really opens up the running game and screen passes.
That's some bad advice you're doling out there, son. Everybody knows Chicago stops the run and is gashed by the pass.
Against your normal balanced offense... you're right. However, the Saints aren't exactly a balanced offense. They are very pass heavy, and are much more of a threat in their passing game, than they are in their running game. Also, The Saints spread the field a lot, forcing defenses to cover more receivers. So, of course... going into this game, the Bears coaching staff isn't saying "now... all we have to do is stack the line, stop Pierre Thomas, and force Drew Brees to beat us throwing the ball".The fact that Chicago is so awful against the pass, will only force them to keep even more people in coverage against a passing team like the Saints. Remember what Ryan Grant did when Chicago had to try and compensate for Green Bay's passing game?
If what you're saying was correct, any team with a strong passing game would put up good running numbers against the Bears. Outside of Green Bay, NO team with a good passing game has put up good running numbers against the Bears. Sorry.
 
Thomas gives Saints dual threat for long shot playoff bid.....

By Nate Davis, USA TODAY

For Pierre Thomas, everything has come full circle — again — as the second-year running back and his New Orleans Saints blow into Chicago on Thursday night to play the Bears in what could be a do-or-die game for two teams near the bottom of a jumbled NFC playoff pile.

Thomas is a native Chicagoan who starred as a prep in the suburb of Lansing, Ill., before going on to thrive at the University of Illinois, where he finished his career as the Fighting Illini's sixth all-time leading rusher.

He is back home on the road in Chicago, and it's not just to serve as a late-season fill-in, a role he capably filled in 2007.

We really want to take it to them," Thomas says of a Bears team he grew up rooting for. "I want to recap what I did last year in front of my family and friends. The Bears know what to expect."

Thomas had 226 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown against Chicago in his first-ever NFL start last Dec. 30, which also happened to be the first time he ever set foot in legendary Soldier Field.

Now he's emerged as the Saints' leading rusher (461 yards and a team-high seven rushing TDs), all but rendering the venerable Deuce McAllister an afterthought.

"He plays many roles for us, offensively and on special teams," Saints quarterback Drew Brees says of Thomas.

Thomas is coming off arguably the best game of his career. He scored two TDs on Sunday (one rushing and one receiving), while turning in the second 100-yard game of his career after galloping for 102 yards against the Falcons. More importantly, he set up the Saints' winning touchdown (a 5-yard run by Thomas) with 5:47 to play after returning a kickoff 88 yards. New Orleans survived 29-25, keeping its flickering playoff hopes alive.

No surprise he earned a game ball for the effort.

"He did so much in that game — both in the running game and obviously in the return game," says Saints coach Sean Payton. "The kick return there is a play that ends up really winning the game for you."

The Saints might not even be on the postseason periphery without Thomas. Over the last four games, he's supplanted McAllister, averaging 15 carries and 78 yards per contest. New Orleans, no longer solely reliant on the prolific arm of Brees and an offense that too often became one-dimensional, won three of those four outings.

"It's a blessing because I wasn't getting that many carries (before)," says Thomas. "It feels great that the coaches have that much confidence in me."

Not that he's counting his touches. "I'm just worried about wins, not carries," Thomas says. "I'm determined I will do something with that ball when I get it."

That determination has aided Brees. "Certainly, the run game setting up the play-action and our ability to throw the ball effectively sets up the run again," says Brees.

"We always go into every game with the thought that we want to mix the run and the pass."

Fellow tailback Reggie Bush, who ran for 80 yards against Atlanta in his second game back from a knee injury, has also provided a boost while serving as a dangerous complement to Thomas out of the backfield.

Unlike the electric Bush, a former Heisman Trophy winner who was drafted second overall in 2006, Thomas went undrafted in 2007. But the Saints — who already had Bush and McAllister on their roster as well as highly regarded draft pick Antonio Pittman— saw enough to sign Thomas as a free agent.

"He was a very long shot," fullback Mike Karney says.

Thomas rewarded the club's faith, turning in such an impressive performance in the preseason that New Orleans cut Pittman, who now serves as Steven Jackson's primary backup in St. Louis.

Long shot or not, Thomas, who's also become a stalwart in the New Orleans community, has fit right in. Of Bush and McAllister, he says: "They're great men with great character."

McAllister, the franchise's all-time leading rusher and one of the most popular players in team history, has received only 22 total carries in the last five games. But he's proven his character with his tutelage of Thomas.

"Deuce has been very supportive," Thomas says of his mentor, who's undergone three major knee surgeries in the last three years. "He's been in my ear left and right, and he's been very helpful.

"I really appreciate him. He's my teacher, and I couldn't ask for more."

Thomas had a quiet rookie season, perhaps because an injured McAllister wasn't around as much to guide him. Thomas made most of his contributions on special teams.

That was until Week 17, when he returned to Chicago. All Thomas did was light up his hometown Bears for 105 rushing yards and 121 receiving yards — making him just the second rookie in league history and first Saints player ever to crack the century mark in both categories in the same game — even though the Saints lost 33-25 to conclude a disappointing 7-9 season.

"In this profession, you can easily have a good game or a good year and all of a sudden think you've got it made, and Pierre hasn't done that," Karney told the Associated Press. "He showed signs last year of being a great talent and he comes in every day and is constantly doing what he's got to do to be successful. He's understanding that at a young age, and that's something that can't be overlooked because that's what allows you to be successful and play a lot of years in this league."

The Saints are back in survival mode against the Bears, who sport an identical 7-6 record. Both teams face the prospect of leapfrogging four NFC foes for the final wild-card berth, though the Bears at least remain viable NFC North threats; the Saints are in last place in the NFC South, arguably the league's best division.

"We have to win 'em all — one at a time — in order to have a shot at the playoffs," Brees says. "We can only win one game at a time, we can't win three games in one day on Thursday.

"We can only beat the Bears."

The Bears' Week 17 victory last season quashed the Saints' playoffs hopes, nearly a year after Chicago ended New Orleans' improbable Super Bowl bid with a 39-14 thrashing in the 2006 NFC Championship Game.

To earn another chance at Super Bowl glory, Thomas and company know they must make hay against the Bears' sixth-ranked rushing defense (91.2 yards per game), especially since the snow and wind in the forecast could play havoc with New Orleans' top-ranked passing game.

"Tough defense," Thomas says. "A lot of hard hitters. We're gonna have our hands full, but we're gonna step up to that challenge.

"We may be a southern team, but we'll be ready."

Luckily for the Saints, Thomas knows how to take flight in the Windy City.

:wall:

 
WiDDoW_MaKeR said:
I am sure that Chicago is going to be much more focused on stopping Drew Brees, and the Saints passing attack, than they are about stopping their running game. Thomas should be fine. Chicago is already known to drop their LB's back in coverage A LOT against good passing offenses, and that really opens up the running game and screen passes.
That's some bad advice you're doling out there, son. Everybody knows Chicago stops the run and is gashed by the pass.
Against your normal balanced offense... you're right. However, the Saints aren't exactly a balanced offense. They are very pass heavy, and are much more of a threat in their passing game, than they are in their running game. Also, The Saints spread the field a lot, forcing defenses to cover more receivers. So, of course... going into this game, the Bears coaching staff isn't saying "now... all we have to do is stack the line, stop Pierre Thomas, and force Drew Brees to beat us throwing the ball".The fact that Chicago is so awful against the pass, will only force them to keep even more people in coverage against a passing team like the Saints. Remember what Ryan Grant did when Chicago had to try and compensate for Green Bay's passing game?
If what you're saying was correct, any team with a strong passing game would put up good running numbers against the Bears. Outside of Green Bay, NO team with a good passing game has put up good running numbers against the Bears. Sorry.
Outside of Green Bay they haven't played a team with a good passing game this season. Honestly the Bears appear to be able to shut down either the pass or the run, but not both. When gameplanning for the Saints it appears the passing game is the most dangerous aspect, and that's the area that Chicago has trouble defending to begin with. I expect the Bears to really focus on shutting down Brees and forcing the Saints to try to run the ball. I don't know if they have the manpower to do it, but I think it's their only shot at winning this game.In full disclosure I'm a Chicago fan who thinks:

* The Bears will lose tonight

* The weather will not be a factor

* The Bears will do a decent job containing New Orleans the first half and then get smoked the second half because they won't adjust

Also I'm benching the Chicago defense and starting Pierre Thomas over Derrick Ward. Just by typing those words I'm assuring myself the Chicago D will score 3 TD's, Thomas will get hurt in warmups, and Ward will blowup.

 

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