"DC" Skins PREgame #7 - at Chicago - Contender or Pretender?

For the Redskins, this game against Chicago has to be the biggest non-divisional game they've had this year. They are 3-3, and the Chicago Bears are 4-2. If you check at various power rankings, most "experts" will have these two teams ranked close to each other. More importantly, this game would put a bit of separation between the "midcard" (to put it in pro-wrestling terms), against the headliners of the NFC. To put it in layman's terms, this game will make the losers look like pretenders, and the winners look a little more like contenders possibly in line for a "push".

So, to break it down...

To win this game, the Redskins have to continue the ground game going. Ryan Torain had a pretty good game last week against Indianapolis. Although, as I said before, the Colts, have historically had bad run defenses. Chicago's defense, in my estimation, should be a bit tougher (as they have 3 playmakers in Urlacher, Briggs, and Peppers). So, if Torain doesn't have a good a game as he had last week, there shouldn't be a surprise. On the other end, they shouldn't allow big plays to opposing running backs (who happen to be slumping). During the past two weeks, Brandon Jackson of Green Bay, and Joseph Addai from Indy, who managed to be slumping, caught the Redskins in big plays. Matt Forte of the Bears is also slumping in the ground, and if the Redskins somehow let him get off the snide for this game, it may be tough.

But the most important key to the game, I feel, is that the Bears offensive line is allowing the most sacks against their quarterbacks, 29 total. Their starter Jay Cutler, got sacked 23 times alone. If the Redskins can take advantage of this and keep this going, and not give Cutler the opportunity to use that strong arm of his to find his receivers, and make him look like Peyton Manning, the Redskins are going to be picked apart.

An X-Factor for the Bears, would be their returner Devin Hester. He's returned a few back for touchdowns this year, and seems to be back in the saddle when it comes to his return game. One interesting storyline they've talked about in regards to Devin Hester as it relates to this game, is that he has a chance to beat the record of Brian Mitchell (a Washington Redskins alumni) when it comes to returning punts.

With that being said, I do feel the Redskins will do enough to win. If Haynesworth is back (which early reports say that he will be), there will be a huge body eating double teams from that bad offensive line, and the pass rush will definitely get to Cutler. And if that's the case, the Redskins will definitely get a few sacks, and possibly get some picks and add on to their turnover ratio. The Redskins offense may have some troubles against this defense, but I feel they will do enough in this game to score more than the opponents. As far as the "X-Factor" is concerned, I do believe that the Redskins would shut down Devin Hester and not let them break Brian Mitchell's record.

Final prediction: Redskins 31 Bears 21

I do feel the Redskins need this game more than the Bears, because if they lose, they'll be 3-4, with a worse chance of recovering in a competitive division (in which 2 teams are currently tied for 1st at 4-2), than the Bears who will be at 4-3 at a competitive, yet recently slumping division (Packers lost 2 in a row, and the Vikings had a slow start). Hence, I'm picking the Redskins win. It's not necessarily gonna be an easy game, but I do think they should win.

Hopefully, when all is said and done, my hometown team will look more like a contender than a pretender.


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