Washington Commanders vs. Chicago Bears Game Preview And Prediction

Washington Commanders vs. Chicago Bears Game Preview And Prediction


Washington Commanders vs. Chicago Bears Game Preview And Prediction


Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

This week’s Thursday Night Football matchup features the Washington Commanders heading to Soldier Field to take on the Chicago Bears. The game has two teams trending in opposite directions. The Commanders at 1-4 have not seen growth at the quarterback position, while even in a loss to the Minnesota Vikings, the Bears saw growth in Justin Fields. The last time these two teams met was in 2019 with Chicago coming away victorious, so who will it be this time?

The Commanders’ offense that got off to a great start in Week One has declined every week since. Carson Wentz through the season so far has completed 132-of-210 passes for 1,390 yards, 10 touchdowns, but has also thrown six interceptions. In addition, the offensive line has not been spectacular as Wentz has been pressured 59 times, the third most in the NFL, and has taken 20 sacks. Wentz has had to pass more than he would probably like because the ground game just can’t get going. Antonio Gibson on 56 attempts only has 179 yards. To try to get things going, they’ve even had wide receivers Curtis Samuel and Terry McLaurin take some carries. In total, the Commanders have tried to run the ball 115 times but have come up with only 445 yards and two touchdowns when doing so. 

If there is one weakness of the Bears’ defense, it is the run. They are allowing 170 rush yards per game, with an average of 4.9 yards per attempt. The Commanders could see a huge game out of Brain Robinson Jr. He returned last week after missing the first four weeks recovering as he was the victim in an attempted robbery where he was shot twice in the leg. Robinson Jr. saw limited action against the Tennessee Titans, but still on nine attempts accumulated 22 yards, which led the Commanders. Until the run game can establish itself, all focus will be on the passing attack. Rookie Jahan Dotson leads the receiving group in touchdowns with four, but missed last week with a hamstring injury and is questionable for Thursday. In his absence, Dyami Brown stepped up and hauled in two receptions for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Of course there is still McLaurin and Samuel who have 326 and 281 yards for a combined three touchdowns, they are playmakers when Wentz can get the ball to them. But that right there could be an issue Thursday. 

As mentioned before, Wentz has been pressured at one of the league’s highest rates so far, and the Bears’ defensive line is getting pressure at the sixth-highest percentage of 27.2%. They are doing so while blitzing at the league’s lowest rate at 13%. That has been to the credit of the defensive front, especially Trevis Gipson who leads the team in pressures with 10, sacks with two, and quarterback knockdowns with four. Justin Jones, Dominique Robinson, and Robert Quinn all have at least one sack along with four or more pressures as well. The secondary will be tough for Wentz to throw against, as they have allowed only 986 yards through the air and only four touchdowns. The rookie safety Jaquan Brisker has been great in coverage, allowing only a 33.3% completion percentage for 49 yards while also racking up 30 tackles. The secondary should get a boost with Jaylon Johnson looking like he is going to return with being a full participant in practice. If there is one player Wentz could look towards to try to get some big plays, it is Kyler Gordon as teams have looked his way frequently and Gordon has allowed a 75% completion percentage for 370 yards. 

For the Bears offense, it hasn’t been pretty to start the season. They currently have the 31st ranked offense with a total of 1,370 yards, and yet they are ranked 16th in scoring percentage with 36.5 percent of drives ending in a score. They have found their success on the ground, as of their total offensive yards, 787 have come from running the ball. That has been helped by their three-headed rushing attack that consists of running backs Khalil Herbert and David Montgomery, as well as quarterback Justin Fields. Fields and Montgomery have over 150 yards each, while Herbert has 328. The Commanders have been stout against the run, allowing only 553 yards, and the defensive front with Daron Payne, Jared Allen, Montez Sweat, and James Smith-Williams have been great at finding their way into the backfield. They have accounted for a total of 17 tackles for a loss and nine sacks. 

Fields poses the same threat that Jalen Hurts did. Hurts they struggled to contain as he was able to get outside the pocket to elude pressure and find plays down field. Fields with his mobility has the same potential, and he took massive strides this past weekend against the Minnesota Vikings. The offense had lacked the passing attack, but for the first time this season Field ended up with over 200 yards, completing 71.4% of his passes with an average of 9.9 yards. He was accurate with his passes, and his improved pocket presence only led to him taking two sacks. If he can continue that this week, that will be essential against a Commanders’ defense struggling to limit the pass. While they have allowed only a completion percentage of 58.9% (fifth least), they have allowed 1,175 yards (14th most) to go for 11 touchdowns (fifth most). Darnell Mooney is the guy Fields looks to for deep passes as he has 303 air yards with an average depth of target of 15.9. Mooney is going to test this Commanders’ zone defense deep, and Montgomery, who is coming off a game where he led the team with 62 receiving yards, is going to test them underneath. When it comes to trying to contain receiving backs, the Commanders have allowed 9.2 yards per reception. 

The Bears seem to be on the right track and are coming off back-to-back games they were close to winning. The Commanders have a lot to figure out, and on a short week when they have to travel as well isn’t great. Look for the Bears to finally turn their close games into a win on Thursday as Fields continues to turn his development in the right direction. 


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