Chicago Bears (5-7) +3, 37.0 O/U at Washington Redskins (5-7) -3, FedEx Field, Landover, 8.15pm EST Thursday Night Football
by The Crazy Snake of Predictem.com
Do you think Joe Gibbs regrets the decision to ice Rian Lindell twice in the dying seconds last week? In an emotional game the Redskins desperately wanted to win in the wake of the untimely demise of Sean Taylor, I guess he could be forgiven for getting caught up in the moment. Rian hit the 51 yarder anyway, even though it didn’t count and subsequently hit the 36 yard game winner with 4 ticks on the clock.
Meanwhile, Chicago (read Grossman) was trying desperately to lose a game they had dominated for 3 quarters against the New York Giants. Grossman was sacked several times, and all too often for big losses. In addition, Chicago was penalized 10 times for 71 yards, a factor that wore on their field position on several key occasions and caused them undue pressure.
It’s a good thing for Chicago they have Devin Hester as a returner, because as a receiver he isn’t exactly making the right moves. He had been begging for chances to receive down-field passes but dropped a key pass that would basically have ended the game in the Bears’ favor. Chicago was forced to punt and the chance to close it out was gone. Grossman will probably have time to find more conventional receivers like Bernard Berrian this week, since Washington is not nearly as blitz happy as the Giants. However, since the Bears’ running game is virtually non-existent lately and Washington is highly ranked on special teams against punt returns, they will almost certainly need him to find those receivers often if they are to post a competitive score.
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Washington’s strength plays into Chicago’s weakness. Portis could have a field day against Chicago’s substandard run D. Last week against the Giant’s Derek Ward, the Bears gave up 154 yards to him on only 24 carries. The problem seems to be mostly on the edges and Portis loves to run off tackle, so he could find himself in open field on more than one occasion. How he capitalizes on that will determine the probable outcome of this game. If he can get around effective lateral linebackers like Brian Urlacher he could bust some big gains. Washington’s job will be to seal off the outside. If they do that they should be able to open up all kinds of offensive capabilities. Jason Campbell is improving with every game, although last week wasn’t his best effort. I think we should ignore most of the form from last week, such was the magnitude of the game and effect on the players. Under normal circumstances, Jason is more than capable of making plays, especially with play action as his weapon.
Chicago is a pretty poor team this season, and though Washington has slipped of late, if they found any kind of form they would belt the Bears into oblivion. I am going to assume that the Washington players will be more focused this week versus the massive emotional roller coaster of last week. If they show up ready to play, I expect them to win pretty well. The risk is with Chicago’s hot and cold passing game. Rex Grossman is definitely a confidence player, and when he’s feeling in control he will attack the Redskins deep, a factor which is now amplified with the absence of Sean Taylor’s capabilities in the Washington secondary.
The Snake’s Bite: I like Washington here based on certain assumptions. A field goal isn’t a significant handicap at home against a below average team. Give up the 3 points and hope Joe Gibbs doesn’t have to repeat his performance of last week and try to ice Robbie Gould.