The Chicago Bears schedule was ranked by many as the toughest in the entire NFL this season. Much of that was due to how things are stacked up for them coming out of the bye week in October. Four of the first five games during that stretch will be against playoff teams from last season in the Saints, Chargers, Eagles, and Rams. Given how the Bears offense is playing lately, that situation looks more daunting than ever.

However, a little luck has yet again fallen their way. News has emerged out of New Orleans that is the worst kind for the Saints. During their 27-9 loss to the Rams, star quarterback Drew Brees was forced to exit the game with an undisclosed injury to his throwing hand. Nobody was sure what the problem was at the time. Tests would be needed to determine the severity but the reaction of Brees himself suggested it wasn’t good.

Subsequent examinations revealed a worst-case scenario according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Brees has a torn ligament in his right thumb. It will require surgery to fix and he’s expected to miss the next six weeks of the season. The Bears play the Saints on October 20th, five weeks from today. This means they will likely be playing New Orleans and backup Teddy Bridgewater at Soldier Field.

Chicago Bears schedule could build momentum

Just like that, the Bears have an opportunity. There are three games left before their bye week. All three are against teams that lost this week in Washington, Minnesota, and Oakland. They should be winnable games provided the offense can somehow actually start scoring more points. Now throw in Brees-less Saints team coming in out of the bye? Chicago has an excellent chance to go 3-1 at least during that stretch to post a 5-2 mark. That’s about all they could ask for after how the season started.

Bridgewater has thus far looked uninspiring in his brief appearances since joining the Saints last season. All told he has thrown 55 passes for 283 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. He also fumbled once. That’s not to say he can’t improve with more consistent playing time. Bridgewater played some good games when he was the starter for Minnesota back in 2015. However, there is no getting around it. He’s a significant step down from Brees.