It’s a short week, and the Chicago Bears will be joined by the Washington Commanders with big shoes to fill following last Thursday Night Football’s treatise on the heights of football ineptitude. Luckily for everyone, these two teams have looked up to the task for much of the early season. Let’s see how Commanders fan KyleSmithforGM feels about his favorite franchise.
1) The Washington offense started off putting up some good numbers against the Jaguars and Lions, but followed with some rough outings against the Eagles and Cowboys and an ultimately insufficient effort against the pesky Titans. What do you think was the biggest difference and do you think they have a chance to get back to early season form against the Bears?
The best offensive performance of the season was against the Jaguars, with decent numbers being put up against the Lions, but only after Detroit had already gone up 22-0 on Washington at the half. The following two games, against the Eagles and Cowboys, the offense was complete garbage. It played better against the Titans, who had a considerably weaker defense than the previous two teams, but the bulk of the offense came on several big plays.
Washington has run relatively well, when it’s run, which it probably hasn’t done enough this season. Against the Bears’ struggling rush defense, they absolutely have to make it a significant part of their offensive strategy this week.
2) On a related note, how is the Carson Wentz experience going? Would you say that he’s gone ahead and started to, you know, take command?
Last week I was so frustrated I wrote a piece calling for a QB change. Wentz played better against the Titans than he had in the lead up to that piece, but not well enough for me to change my mind. He was terribly inconsistent in the game, and came up painfully short on the cusp of Tennessee’s goal line at the end of the game, ultimately throwing an interception to kill a potential game-winning drive. I don’t need to see anymore to know Carson Wentz is not the future in DC. At 1-4, he definitely has not taken command.
3) The Bears offense looked its best all season in the second half against the Vikings. Do you think the Commanders secondary will give Justin Fields the opportunity to stay in rhythm?
Lucky for the Bears, Washington’s secondary, particularly its cornerbacks, are the weakest element of its defense. The defensive line is playing very well, and the linebacker play has improved too. Commanders’ strong safety Kam Curl [no relation] is apparently PFF’s #1 safety in the league at this point, but it’s not unusual for the teams’ other defensive backs to experience communications’ breakdowns. My hope is Jack Del Rio will relentlessly pressure the young Fields to give him less time to target the Commanders’ secondary.
4) Who are the young players on the Commanders that you’re most excited about as building blocks for the future? Which of them do you think will be most likely to make a difference in this game?
One of the most exciting young players is Brian Robinson, Washington’s rookie running back who was shot twice in an armed robbery late in August and who returned to play against the Titans last weekend. Before the attack, Robinson was going to be Washington’s RB1, allowing Antonio Gibson to move into more of a Cordarelle Patterson hybrid role. The team had Robinson on a pitch count against the Titans, but it will be interesting to see if they use him more traditionally against the Bears. I’m expecting they will.
Wide receiver Jahan Dotson was one of the top rookies in the league before going down with a hamstring injury during the Cowboys game, He missed the Titans game and unfortunately will likely be absent against the Bears too. Second year WR Dyami Brown stepped up in Dotson’s absence last Sunday, catching 2 TDs and putting up over 100 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, safety Darrick Forrest has taken an impressive leap this year, showing up as a hard hitting playmaker, and the recipient of the team’s only interception so far this season.
5) Draftkings has the Bears as only 1 point home favorites against the Commanders when the standard home field advantage is 3 points. Why do you think betters are treating Washington as the better team despite the fact that the Bears have literally twice as many wins this season?
Washington is a moderately talented team that appears to suffer largely from poor coaching. My sense is, even with their shortcomings, they’re a better team than the Bears are, despite playing the Bears at home. I expect Washington to win this game, even though they may ultimately win only 4 or 5 games this season. I’m predicting Washington will win this one 21-17.
Sounds like Mr. SmithforGM doesn’t have a lot of respect for our Beloved. If you think the Bears can do better than that against a poorly-coached moderately-talented team with an aint-it at quarterback, our friends over at DraftKings Sportsbook have you covered for this game and all the week’s NFL action.