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Bears-Saints matchup of the day: Wednesday

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Dan Parr
Associate editor

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By Dan Parr

Here's a look at a key matchup heading into Sunday's game between the Bears and Saints.

Bears DEs Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije vs. Saints OTs Jermon Bushrod and Zach Strief

Peppers typically plays right end, where he would be lined up across from Bushrod, but don't be surprised if the Bears flip him and Idonije to try to exploit Strief, the lesser regarded of the two Saints pass blockers on the edge.

Strief, a longtime backup and sub-package player in New Orleans, is a full-time starter for the first time in his career. He's replacing Jon Stinchcomb, who was released during training camp, and Strief really could struggle against Peppers' quickness. Strief was caught playing too high at times against the Packers in Week One, when he was trying to slow down Clay Matthews. If Peppers doesn't get past Strief on speed alone, he could gain leverage by keeping his pad level low and using a move to cut inside.

Peppers was a consistent disruption for the Falcons in Week One and he recorded two sacks. Chicago's defense showed how dominant it can be when its pass rushers are winning battles up front.

The Saints are likely to try to double-team Peppers to keep him from knocking their offense out of rhythm, and Idonije and the other defensive linemen will need to take advantage of one-on-one matchups.

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