The Chicago Bears (4-2) and Washington Redskins (1-4) will meet for the 48th time ever Sunday afternoon. The Skins have fared well at FedEx Field against the Bears as of late.
The Bears haven’t won there since 2001, when former Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher reeled in a 27-yard touchdown catch on a pass from holder Brad Maynard on a fake field goal attempt to win 20-15.
The 2013 Bears are a much different team. They have a dynamic offense with Jay Cutler playing with more command then ever in his time in the windy city. The defense will get some key faces back for this one in cornerback Charles Tillman and defensive tackle Stephen Paea.
This will be a tough matchup for the Bears’ defense considering the middle of defense has struggled against the run. Redskins running back Alfred Morris is only improving in his second season.
The Redskins have allowed 27 or more points in each of their four losses this season (Eagles, Packers, Lions, Cowboys). The pass rush has generated up 16 sacks including a team-high five from defensive end Ryan Kerrigan.
However, the Skins secondary has been a weakness once again this season, while the defense has forced just eight turnovers (three interceptions, five forced fumbles).
The Skins pass defense led by cornerback DeAngelo Hall has allowed an average of 271.6 yards per game through the air. Opposing quarterbacks are posting a QB rating of 105 against them so far this season.
Hall picked off Cutler four times in the last meeting, 2010, all in the second half of the game. Cutler called Hall “just another player” during an interview with the media this week.
Bears- Cornerback Charles Tillman (knee) and Martellus Bennett (knee) both missed practice on Wednesday, but were able to get in limited practices the past two days. They are both listed as questionable. However, they should be able to play in this important NFC matchup
–Linebacker James Anderson (back) and defensive tackle Stephen Paea (toe) are both back in the fold after practicing fully the past two days. Also, Anthony Walters (hamstring) is back after missing the past two games and should be a big lift on special teams.
Redskins- Cornerback David Amerson (concussion) practiced fully on Friday after being limited the previous days. He is questionable. He has a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown so far this season.
Players Who Must Step Up
Stephen Paea– The third-year Oregon State defensive tackle is back after missing the past two games with a turf toe injury. He is a much needed body with the middle of the defensive line beat up. He will slide in next to Corey Wootton, who has been basically the lone wolf at defensive tackle as of late. He has 13 tackles, 0.5 sack through four games. He should be leaned upon to help stop the run against Griffin III and Morris.
Devin Hester– The three-time Pro Bowl selection has 19 kick returns for 575 yards on the season averaging 30.3 yards per return. He has three 40 plus yard returns this season. Hester should be able to have a successful afternoon against a very bad Redskins special teams unit. Cowboys returner Dwayne Harris totaled 220 returning last week against the Skins including a 90-yard kickoff return for a score.
Earl Bennett– The sixth-year Vanderbilt has eight catches for 80 yards and two touchdowns this season. However, he has been super quiet as of late contributing just one catch for 14 yards the past two weeks. The Bears need someone to open the field up and Bennett could do just that on Sunday. He is a big part of the offense even though right now it doesn’t seem like he really is.
Final Score Prediction
Bears 37, Redskins 27
Highs in the mid 60’s and sunny. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph.
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