A loss this week, and the Washington Redskins can put the 2013 season to bed, if they haven’t already.
When the Redskins (1-4) take on the Chicago Bears (4-2) on Sunday afternoon at FedEx Field (1:00 PM ET, FOX), it will be imperative that they walk away with a victory. After the debacle that was last week, the fans don’t have many reasons to believe this will happen. All three facets of the game have failed the Redskins at different times this season. Against the Cowboys, it was the special teams unit and the red zone offense. Other weeks, it’s been the secondary and the between-the-20s offense. Washington has yet to play a complete game all season. They’ll need to on Sunday if they have a prayer of toppling Jay Cutler and Co.
Thankfully, the ‘Skins do have a few aces up their sleeve that may provide them with a fighting chance yet. The last time these two teams hooked up, Washington CB DeAngelo Hall picked off Cutler four times, returning one for a touchdown and helping seal the victory for the Redskins. If Cutler lets the memory of that game rattle him, the Bears offense could stumble significantly.
The defense overall has looked much better in its last two games than it did in the first three. The secondary is covering their assignments just long enough for the defensive line to get pressure and force the QB to make a bad read/throw. They need the pressure to be sustained on Sunday, as Bears wideouts Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are large and in charge when on the field. Washington’s secondary is made up of mostly smaller players, so the Bears size advantage will become a factor if Cutler has time to throw.
Rookie TE Jordan Reed had a breakout game (well, first half) against Dallas last week, hauling in four catches for nearly 60 yards. The Bears have given up over 75 yards to 4 of the 6 tight ends they have faced thus far, so Reed has an opportunity to make a name for himself this weekend. Hopefully the coaching staff elects not to ignore him like they did (inexplicably) in the second half of the Cowboys game. Fred Davis has been invisible this season, but a dual-TE set featuring Davis and Reed would be very hard to defend, and is something I hope we see this week.
There’s not a lot new to say on the RGIII front. Eventually, he’ll round back into his 2012 form. Until then, Washington will continue to get roller-coaster ride performances from the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year.
I’d like to see more playing time for Roy Helu Jr. this week. Yes, Alfred Morris was fantastic last season, and has been above average in 2013, but Helu brings a shiftiness to the field that Morris will never possess. His vision is tremendous and he can cut quicker than just about anyone in the league. Plus, giving Helu more carries will keep Morris fresh for the stretch run.
I really am not quite sure how I feel about this game. I personally think the Bears are a little overrated, but I also think that Washington is badly underperforming and, honestly, has been out-coached in every loss this season. I want to predict a Redskins victory, as a win would keep the team in the divisional race. Unfortunately, I predict with my head, not my heart. This one hurts, but fans should start coming to terms with this season sooner rather than later.
Prediction: Chicago 28, Washington 17