After laying an egg against the San Francisco 49’ers last week, the Chicago Bears will get an opportunity to play spoiler on Sunday afternoon as they welcome the Washington Redskins to Soldier Field.
Unfortunately for the Bears, the injury bug has bitten their team hard this week, and their offense was the unit affected most adversely.
To take a look at where the team is at now, we’re going to look at both teams’ offenses, and pick which one has the edge in each of three key areas.
Washington’s quarterback situation was one of the biggest stories in the NFL before the season began, as Kirk Cousins took the reins and ran with them. He’s been quite solid this season, tossing 17 touchdown passes and racking up 3006 yards, but he’s been sacked 20 times and has difficulty in generating offense at times as well.
On the other side of the field, the Bears have been getting good production out of Jay Cutler, but he was definitely not on his game against the 49’ers last week. He overthrew several receivers and had a couple of bad touch passes as well, and his 202 yards were not enough as the Bears lost a very winnable game at Soldier Field.
Adding to Cutler’s woes this week are the injuries that the team is once again dealing with. Both Martellus Bennett and Marquess Wilson are out for the season, so unless Cutler can make do with Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffery, he’s going to have a tough go of things on Sunday.
Both teams tend to use the “running by committee” approach, as Washington has been leaning heavily on Alfred Morris and Matt Jones this season. Both players are averaging around three and a half yards per carry, and although they’ve only combined for three touchdowns, they could be in for a decent day against Chicago’s porous run defense.
On the other side, the Bears have been executing the three-man weave to perfection recently. Matt Forte has come back into the mix and performed well for the Bears, but he’s seen his carries limited by the successes of both Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey. Both runners are playing with a lot of speed and effectiveness recently, and with the Bears’ passing game facing some tough challenges, they could get an even heavier workload this week.
With that in mind, the Bears will also be helped by Washington’s porous run defense, which has given up just 45 fewer yards this season than Chicago’s has.
Washington is pretty deep at the wide receiver position, with several players providing some tough opposition to a Bears’ secondary that’s been showing some inconsistency recently. DeSean Jackson is a really quick receiver that could give Tracy Porter issues on Sunday, and Kyle Fuller could have his hands full as Pierre Garcon and Jamison Crowder are both solid options for Cousins to throw to.
Another factor the Bears have to consider is the effectiveness of Jordan Reed. He leads Washington in receptions this season, and with the Bears’ issues in covering tight ends over the middle of the field, he could be in for a big day in the passing game.
As for the Bears, losing Wilson and Bennett is not going to help their cause, but getting Eddie Royal back could. He has practiced all week long, and if he can provide Cutler with another option outside of Alshon Jeffery in the game, then Chicago could potentially get things headed in the right direction.