Byron K. Dixon Jr. (@BKD_TV)
The Washington Redskins (7-6- 1) will wrap up their 2016 road schedule Saturday afternoon with a trip to Soldier Field to face the Chicago Bears (3-11) as part of the NFL’s Christmas Eve showcase. The Redskins are currently on the outside looking in with two games remaining on their schedule. A win Saturday afternoon would help ease the anxiety of Redskins fan worldwide who know this playoff race will come down to week 17.
The Monday Night Disaster:
Washington is coming in on a short week after a 26-15 loss this past Monday to Carolina. The Redskins have lost three of their last our contest and are now ½ a game back of Green Bay and Tampa Bay for the final wild-card spot. Coach Jay Gruden knows that a loss this weekend would make life a lot tougher for his team to make the postseason.
As far as mental preparedness goes coach Gruden believes his team has a tough makeup.
“As far as being mentally ready we feel we can make a good game plan up that will allow us to do what needs to be done and that’s win.” said coach Gruden.
The Redskins cannot afford another slow start especially against a three-win team looking to play spoiler. Washington has won the last six contests against the Bears which is the longest active streak against any other team. The Redskins will try to make it seven wins in a row over Chicago with a high-powered offense led by quarterback Kirk Cousins, who is second in the NFL with 4,360 passing yards to go along with 23 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Cousins has spread the ball effectively this season, which will make it difficult for the Bears to target a single playmaker with their 3-4 defensive scheme. Washington is the only team in the league this season to have six players with at least 40 receptions. The group is led by wide receivers DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Jamison Crowder, all of whom have eclipsed 800 receiving yards and have the 1,000-yard milestone within their sights.
Chicago actually has one more day of rest than the Redskins and have been competitive in their last few contests. Nevertheless, the Bears have lost two straight games and five of their last six overall. This guarantees Chicago its third straight sub -.500 showing but after last week they put up a good showing against division foe Green Bay.
Matt Barkley who has taken over the reigns as Chicago QB said:
“Our guys never give up, we keep believing and we know we are better than our record indicates and we hope to finish these last two games strong”.
Barkley who will make his fifth straight start at QB over injured Jay Cutler and Brian Hoyer knows his play will help determine the outcome of this game.
The Hot Rookie:
Rookie running back Jordan Howard could challenge the Redskins defense, which is ranked No. 29 in the league with an average of 375.4 yards allowed per game. Howard has rushed for 1,059 yards and six touchdowns this season, and he has a legitimate chance to make franchise history by breaking Matt Forte’s rookie record of 1,258 rushing yards in 2008.
The Bears also will welcome back inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman. The team’s top tackler missed the last four games because of a suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
With A Win:
A win on Sunday would allow the Redskins to control their own destiny next Sunday when the NY Giants visit Fed Ex Field. This could be a possible win and you’re in scenario for Washington against longtime division rival New York.