By Kevin Ross II
The Washington Redskins will play their final road game of the season at Soldier Field as they take on the Chicago Bears this Christmas Eve at 1p.m. ET. The Redskins’ playoff chances took a major hit with Monday’s loss to Carolina, but things could still work out in Washington’s favor if they are able to win their last two games. First on the agenda is a tough matchup with the Bears, who are out of playoff contention, but fight as hard as anyone. Here’s everything you need to know about the Chicago Bears.
Bears Record: 3-11
The Chicago Bears hold one of the worst records in the NFL and sit firmly in last place of the NFC North division. The Bears are 1-4 in their last five games, but have been very competitive in each of the losses. In fact, in the Bears’ last four losses, the highest margin of defeat is six points; meaning the Bears will be competitive to say the least against Washington.
Bears On Offense
The Bears are quarterbacked by former USC Trojan star Matt Barkley. Barkley is in his fourth season after being drafted by the Eagles in the fourth round. He has been a struggling backup his entire career, but he may finally be finding his stride in Chicago. In Barkley’s last three games, he has posted an average passer rating of 90.4. To add some perspective, pro bowl quarterback Dak Prescott of the Cowboys has posted a passer rating of 84.2 in his last three games.
In Chicago’s last three games, their offense has posted 26, 17 and 27 points, respectively. This is a 3-11 team, but recently they have been anything but inept on offense. Washington’s defense must come ready to play at Soldier Field.
Bears On Defense
The Bears are a stingy unit defensively, led by linebacker Jerrell Freeman, who leads the team in tackles with 91. The Bears defense sets the tone for the team with their feisty and gritty attitude. With a 3-11 record, many would assume that the Bears struggle across the board in all facets of the game. This notion is incorrect, as Chicago is home to the 9th ranked defense in all of football.
Chicago’s defense is orchestrated by head coach John Fox, who is in his second season with the Bears. Fox has been known for his stout defenses in Carolina and Denver, and that trend has continued. The Bears’ only weakness on defense is against the run—the unit actually ranks a spot behind Washington in run defense. Look for the Redskins to try to establish Robert Kelley early on.
Player To Watch
If the average fan had to compose a list of the league’s top 10 rushers, the vast majority would leave Chicago running back Jordan Howard off of this list. In reality, Howard is currently ranked above many household names such as Todd Gurley, Frank Gore and Melvin Gordon.
Howard has amassed 1,059 rushing yards with six touchdowns and is currently ranked as the league’s 9th best running back. The Redskins’ most telling weakness is their inability to stop the run. If the Bears are able to get Howard off to a good start, it could be a long day for the burgundy and gold. This is why running back Jordan Howard is the player to watch for the Bears.
This will be a difficult road match-up for Washington as they will play in frigid temperatures in Chicago. With their season on the line, the Redskins should be ready to compete. If both teams come to play, look for the Redskins to win a close match-up by three points.