If confidence counts, the Saints are in trouble

Updated: October 11, 2003, 10:45 AM ET

NEW ORLEANS -- It's become an old refrain for New Orleans Saints coach Jim Haslett: One win, just one win.

After losing three straight, the Saints (1-4) are desperate for a victory, hoping it can build confidence for the rest of the season. They play the Chicago Bears (1-3) on Sunday, a team that just got its first win of the year.

"The morale, the confidence, the air, the energy and the atmosphere is always good after getting a win when you haven't won in so long," Bears quarterback Kordell Stewart said.

Stewart said when teams try so hard to win, they press and that leads to mistakes. That's what happened to the Bears before Paul Edinger's 48-yard field goal as time ran out gave them a 24-21 victory over Oakland last week.

"Once you get that one win, you have a sense of confidence and a little aura about yourself," Stewart said.

As losses mount, so does the pressure. Stewart never tuned his radio to an AM station, hoping smooth FM jazz would help him stay loose.

How players deal with the types of starts the Saints and Bears have had is always a worry, Bears coach Dick Jauron said.

"You're worried about the players all the time, their outlook on the game, their preparation, everything about it, because they play it on Sunday," Jauron said. "It's difficult to figure out what comes first, the attitude or the winning. People always talk about how winning teams have good attitudes, but you wonder if that attitude preceded the winning or if winning preceded the attitude."

Either way, the Bears should have a bit of a swagger facing a fellow cellar dweller.

"I'm sure if we were coming off a win, we'd have a certain amount of confidence, especially getting it against a team the caliber they beat," Saints center Jerry Fontenot said. "So mentally, I'm sure they are riding high and they feel like this would be a good week for them to get another win."

The Saints hope the home field will be an advantage. Normally, they could count on it. New Orleans has had 24 straight sellouts and is expecting a good crowd Sunday. But like the Bears, the Saints have been booed as much at home as on the road this season.

New Orleans has won at home only once since Dec. 1 of last season, including two preseason losses. At the last home game, fans brought paper bag masks, which they wore in the second half.

"We have good fans, but they get discouraged, too," Saints receiver Joe Horn said. "What we have to try to do is get things going early in the game so they'll stay behind us."

This is their worst start since Haslett became coach in 2000. The last time the Saints started so poorly was 1999, when they finished 3-13 in the final year of the Mike Ditka regime.

"A win in this league jump starts things," Haslett said. "We have to get something going."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index