Game day update: WR Darnell Mooney and LB Roquan Smith are both OUT against the Saints.
Despite losing seven of their final 10 games — including a blowout to the archrival Green Bay Packers in the season finale — the Chicago Bears snuck into the playoffs courtesy of the Arizona Cardinals’ Week 17 defeat and the NFL’s decision to expand the playoff field to seven teams in each conference.
But while the Bears appear overmatched on paper by their wild-card opponent, they fell three points short of defeating the New Orleans Saints in overtime during a Week 8 matchup. Now with Mitch Trubisky under center, the Bears hope to complete the upset.
Bears final injury report
Out: CB Buster Skrine (concussion)
Questionable: CB Jaylon Johnson (shoulder), WR Darnell Mooney (ankle), LB Roquan Smith (elbow), LB Josh Woods (toe, glute)
Notable players on in-week report who were removed from final: Allen Robinson (hamstring), Cole Kmet (shoulder), Eddie Jackson (wrist), Khalil Mack (shoulder)
How the team’s injuries may affect Bears vs. Saints matchup
The Bears must have considerable concerns about their secondary heading into Sunday’s game. Rookie Jaylon Johnson, one of the team’s starting cornerbacks, hasn’t suited up since Week 14. Perhaps the magnitude of the stage pushes Johnson back into action, but given the injury and the length of his absence, tackling would become a major concern.
Meanwhile, the Bears have already ruled out Buster Skrine due to a concussion. Skrine has generally struggled since arriving in Chicago in 2019, but the options behind him present more concerns. Duke Shelley, a starter last Sunday, endured a nightmare of an outing. He will likely see most of the action in the slot in Skrine’s absence.
Chicago has more hope that linebacker Roquan Smith can return, but that too appears uncertain entering the weekend. Smith left the season finale after injuring his elbow in the first half and never returned. Given Danny Trevathan’s decline and the offseason departure of Nick Kwiatkoski, the Bears have little hope of filling Smith’s void should he prove unable to play. With Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara expected to return for the Saints, the Bears defense has virtually no wiggle room when it comes to personnel absences.