by Bryan Dietzler
The 1-1 Chicago Bears, fresh off a close win over the Denver Broncos, will take on the winless Washington Reskins in Washington this Monday night. The Redskins lost to the Dallas Cowboys this past Sunday and are looking for their first win of the season.
The Bears are looking to continue winning by building upon their victory last week.
Let’s look at the offense, defense and special teams matchups that are important in this game along with a look at who will win the game.
Bears on Offense
The Chicago Bears have had a tough time of it on offense lately. They were stagnant against the Green Bay Packers but came alive, somewhat, in the second game versus the Broncos.
The Redskins defense ranks near the bottom in most categories. They are 31st in rush yards and points allowed, 30th in total yards allowed and 25th in passing yards allowed.
Looking at the numbers for the Bears’ offense, they are currently ranked 30th in points and yards gained, 28th in passing yards and 18th in rushing yards.
Something must give in this game.
Could the Bears’ offense finally wake up and get going against the Redskins?
It all starts at the quarterback position and Mitchell Trubisky has a lot to prove. If you listen to the experts this week, they are saying that he should have his bearings in his third year and be playing like a starter. That’s not happening.
Is it time to give up on Trubisky? That’s a story for another day.
If the Bears are going to have success on offense in this game, they are going to have to get Trubisky going and supplement his play with the run. The Bears are fully capable of running the football with Mike Davis, Tarik Cohen, David Montgomery, and even Cordarrelle Patterson. They just need to commit to it.
Running Montgomery would be beneficial to the Bears. His ability to blow through holes and break tackles is unique and he could easily help the Bears control the tempo of the game. Look for Chicago to run him more often against the Redskins and try to control the ball and the clock.
It’s not like Trubisky doesn’t have a bevy of weapons to throw the ball to. Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Anthony Miller are all respectable receivers that can catch the ball and do something with it afterward. They just need to “get” the ball.
That’s been the problem.
Hopefully, that problem is corrected in this game. Trubisky really needs a breakout game not only to help the Bears win but get the monkey off his back. He needs to show everyone that he was the right choice when the Bears selected him in the draft a few short years ago.
The tight end group has been a bit of a disappointment with injuries and ineffective play. We did get to see a little more out of Adam Shaheen last Sunday and hopes are that he will pick it up and play better. Trey Burton needs to step it up as well.
But in the end, it’s up to Trubisky and head coach Matt Nagy to get the tight ends, receivers and running backs the ball.
Will the Bears finally get their offense moving and look better than they have the last couple of weeks?
We will find out Monday night.
Bears on Defense
The Redskins’ offense hasn’t been that terrible the last two weeks despite the 0-2 start. They played Philadelphia close in the first game and didn’t lose as big to Dallas like some thought they would. Their offense could give the Bears’ defense a run for its money on Monday night.
We all know that the Bears have one of the top defenses in the NFL. Their 12 points allowed ranks third in the league while their total yards allowed is fourth. Chicago allows the six fewest rushing yards and the 12th fewest passing yards.
As you can see, the Bears have a top-end defense and it’s going to help them win games. But can it help them win this one?
The Redskins ranking on offense aren’t bad, but they aren’t that great either. When it comes to scoring, they are 9th in the NFL with 24 points per game. Their total yards per game stands at 326.5 which is 25th in the NFL. They are 10th in passing yards totaling 289 yards per game on average while their rushing yardage sits at 37.5 which is a lowly 30th in the league.
Case Keenum is the Redskins quarterback and he’s not been that bad in his first two starts. His completion percentage is currently sitting at 69.1. He has thrown for five touchdowns in two games which is solid. The Reskins passing game is a little scary and should give the Bears’ some concern.
What was kind of unnerving last week was the way that Denver was able to seemingly pass all over the Bears’ defense. Luckily, when the field got shorter the defense got better but this has to make the Bears a little nervous. Can they stop Keenum and the seemingly high-powered Redskins passing attack?
Washington has allowed opponents just two sacks through two games. This means that their offensive line is protecting Keenum well. The Bears will need to get pass pressure from the usual suspects such as Khalil Mack and Leonard Floyd.
I would look for one of those two to have a big game.
The secondary needs to step it up and cover the Redskins receivers. Guys like Terry McLaurin and Chris Thompson cannot have big games against the Bears this Monday. The corners and safeties need to have a solid, mistake-free game on Sunday.
Rushing the ball has been a problem for the Redskins. Their current rushing leader, Adrian Peterson, has just 25 yards through two games. That’s poor. The Bears do well against the run but they haven’t done well against Peterson in the past. However, Peterson is not what he used to be and the Bears’ run defense will shut him, or any other running back Washington has, down.
Look for the linebackers to be active in this game with guys like Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan making plays all over the field. I don’t suspect that the Redskins are going to magically “grow” a ground game in this one.
Yes, the Bears found themselves a kicker after a season of woe at the position in 2018. Eddy Pinero justified his being on the team by making the winning kick last week in Denver. The Bears may need him to do it again this week as this promises to be a low scoring game and every point will count.
He cannot afford a miss.
That could be deadly for the Bears.
While Jay Gruden has more experience than Matt Nagy does, Nagy seems to have the edge in talent on the team as well as organization. The Redskins always seem to be in a state of disarray and while things are a little bit better this season, it’s hard to see past the 0-2 start. It means something is wrong in Washington.
Nagy will need to get Chicago’s offense going in this game using both the run and the pass to move the ball down the field. They should be able to get some yards running the ball but due to ineffective play by Trubisky, passing the ball becomes more of a question mark.
If creativity is needed, Nagy can deliver. But he can’t get too cute.
This is going to be a close game just like the first two games were. I expect the defense to be lights out but the offense will struggle at times. I think Chicago’s offense will be better but it’s taking baby steps right now. The Redskins will make it interesting, but the Bears will win this game.
Chicago 17 Washington 13
Updated Chicago Bears’ Injury Report
Here is the injury report for the Chicago Bears as of this Saturday:
Bilal Nichols-DT-Hand-He will not play in this game
Eddie Goldman-NT-Oblique-He’s been limited but will most likely play in Monday’s contest.
Trey Burton-TE-Groin-Burton seems to be injured often although he should play in this one.
Kyle Long-OG-Hip-This one kind of came out of nowhere. Hopefully, he is a go Monday.
Eddie Jackson-S-Shoulder/Knee-Jackson has some soreness but should be able to play Monday night. The Bears need him in the secondary.
Eddy Pinero-K-Right Knee-This should be as scary as it looks. The Bears cannot afford a confused kicking situation or an injured kicker. Let’s hope he can play and be effective on Monday night.
Washington Redskins Injury Report