Redskins vs. Bears Game Preview
It’s cliche and probably overused, but the best thing about the National Football League is how any team can win on any given Sunday. The 2013 season has thrown a lot at us in a short amount of time. The Falcons(1-4) and Texans(2-4) are both clinging onto their playoff hopes for dear life. Somehow the Kansas City Chiefs are 6-0 and the New York Giants are 0-6. Crazy, eh? That’s why I like this game, Redskins versus Bears. Both the Bears and Redskins had some really high hopes coming into the 2013 season. So far, the Redskins are not living up to their off-season hype and the Bears have become a completely different team in one season. Let’s look at this match-up and see if we can predict who’s got a better chance of winning..
What the Bears can do on offense…
When I said above that the Bears have become a completely different team in one season, I was dead serious. Last season, Jay Cutler was struggling to stand up in the pocket and find other reliable targets not named, Brandon Marshall. Only 59% of Jay Cutler’s passes went to players other than Brandon Marshall last year. The number is up to 75% this season. The offense is eleventh in the league in terms of total offense. Last season, the unit finished 28th in terms of total offense. Bears’ fans can thank Phil Emery and Marc Trestman for that huge jump and success so far.
The Saints’ defense managed to get to Cutler early in the game because the offensive line wasn’t prepared for the blitzes that Rob Ryan sent. That’s 100% on Aaron Kromer and Marc Trestman. When the Bears’ offensive line play the Redskins’ defense, they better be prepared to see a lot of different looks and blitzes off the edge. That being said, the Bears’ offense is going to have to attack the Redskins’ weak secondary that might be without cornerback, David Amerson and do it quickly. Jay Cutler will have plenty of opportunities to expose the Redskins’ secondary with weapons like Brandon Marshall, Martellus Bennett, and Alshon Jeffery at his disposal. Last time the Bears and Redskins met up, Cutler threw four interceptions to DeAngelo Hall. I don’t see that happening this time.
What the Bears can do on defense…
To be honest, there’s really only one thing the Bears’ defense does well and that’s forcing turnovers. Other than that, the unit is not really doing well at stopping the run or pass. I choose to believe it’s due to the injuries that have plagued the Bears’ defense. Losing starting defensive tackles, Henry Melton and Nate Collins, was a tough blow and recently they loss starting middle linebacker, DJ Williams, all to season ending injuries. Factor in the fact that Charles Tillman has been playing through injuries and Julius Peppers was sick for the first two weeks with the flu, then you can kind of piece together why the unit has been struggling.
The Bears’ defense has been gashed on the ground and through the air the past few weeks. This week, they need to figure out a way to stop Redskins’ running back, Alfred Morris. Contain Morris and force RG3 to throw the ball because the last thing the Bears need to worry about is the read option. Last season, the read option killed the Bears and you can bet the Redskins are looking at ways to use it this week versus the Bears. That’s why it’s integral for the Bears to stop the run game and make RG3 pass. The past six games have been tough on RG3 and while he has made improvements, the Bears’ defense needs to keep RG3 from regaining his confidence and using the read option like he used to.
What the Redskins can do on offense…
Don’t let Washington’s 1-4 record fool you. This team is still dangerous and the offense is starting to come along as RG3 becomes more comfortable each game. To count the Redskins out this early in the season is just ludicrous. There are numerous teams struggling right now and last season, the Redskins won their division on a seven game win streak, which is something that’s very possible again this season with the way the NFC East is shaping up to be. Will it be easy? No, but the offense still has enough pieces in place to attack most defenses in the league and RG3 is getting better each game.
If there were to be a game that could help spark the RG3′s confidence this would be it. Russel Wilson schooled retired Brian Urlacher last season with the read option and with DJ Williams out for the season, that means rookie Jonthan Bostic will be starting at the middle linebacker position. Run those read option plays that wore out the Bears’ defense last year and run the ball. Alfred Morris can make RG3′s life easier and make the Bears’ defense hell. Brandon Jacobs was able to run all over the Bears’ defense on Thursday night. However, Eli Manning had other ideas during that game. That’s why RG3 needs to play a solid game with great quarterback play. If the Redskins can limit the turnovers and use the read option, you’ll see the old RG3 back in true form.
What the Redskins can do on defense…
The Redskins’ defense was a nice backbone to the team last season that was struggling to find it’s way offensively. Once the Redskins figured out how to utilize RG3 properly, the team became like peanut butter and jelly, so to speak. This season is a little different with players struggling and aging. DeAngelo Hall and Brandon Meriweather’s gambling style of play has hurt the team in games and it’s starting to become a concern. With solid and underrated players like Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan bringing pressure and wreaking havoc on opposing offensive lines, there’s no need for Hall or Meriweather’s style of play.
The Bears’ offense has been playing great as of late but they still have a long way to go offensively. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett needs to attack the Bears’ right side of the offensive line and get the two rookies frustrated. Haslett will need to come up with some confusing blitz schemes to confuse the not only offensive line but Jay Cutler as well. We all know Cutler is going to want to attack DeAngelo Hall and extract revenge. Utilize that and make Cutler force the ball like he did in 2010 versus the Redskins. Above all, stay disciplined on defense and avoid lapses in coverage.
Final Score: Redskins 21, Bears 30