After consecutive losses to start the season as underdogs, the Washington Redskins will enter their third-straight game as the non-favorite to win.
The Redskins face the Chicago Bears on Monday night as 3.5 point underdogs in a nationally televised contest and desperately needing a win to get their season on track.
The Bears are an NFC team that has large aspirations and will present the Redskins with another big challenge. Led by their defense, Chicago enters the contest 1-1 on the season. The NFC North team lost their opening day game to the Green Bay Packers 10-3 and pulled out a controversial 16-14 win last week on the road against the Denver Broncos.
Washington is led on offense by quarterback Case Keenum. Keenum has played well in his first year for the Redskins by throwing for more than 600 yards with five touchdown passes. He hasn’t thrown an interception in two starts.
Rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin has taken the nation’s capital by storm and is seen as a No. 1 wideout option in the making. On the season, the former Ohio State standout has produced 10 catches for 187 yards and two touchdowns.
Washington will have to get their running game going against the Bears No. 4 ranked defense. On the season the Redskins rank 30th in the NFL running the ball only averaging 37.5 yards per game.
The Redskins defense was supposed to be the strength of their team entering the season but have faltered early. They will have to get on track Monday and the Bears offense could be the prescription that’s needed to get well.
On the season, Chicago’s offense ranks 30th in points per game (9.5), 30th in yards per game (263.5), 28th in passing yards per game (164.0), and 18th in rushing yards per contest (99.5).
The Redskins defense ranks 31st in points allowed per game (31.5), 30th in yards allowed per outing (455.0), 25th in passing yards per contest (287.0), and 31st in rushing yards allowed (168.0).
Those numbers have to improve immediately or the slow start to the season will continue to spiral out of control.
Redskins coach Jay Gruden recently spoke to the media after the Dallas loss about ‘reaching’ his defensive players and what the issues have been for the defense to start the season.
“I think we’re reaching them fine; we just got to play better,” Gruden said. “Like I said, we played two very good offenses, and we got Chicago coming here this week. We got to focus on this week number one: playing better, playing harder, playing physical, challenging receivers a little bit more. Getting after the quarterback is the big thing. Our third-down percentage on defense isn’t good enough in any league. So it’s gonna be a point of emphasis, but the beginning of third-down is also important. It’s a combination of things that we can do better, and I think we will.
“I think it’s a combination,” Gruden said regarding the defenses problems. “We have to do a better job at teaching, for sure. That’s on us as coaches. [That is] something that can be more of a point of emphasis. We’ll have more walk through time, hopefully. Get some more meeting time so these guys can study and learn and make sure they’re in the right spot. And when they are in the right spot, we gotta make sure we finish plays and make plays. I’m not going to say we were totally out of gaps all the time. [Dallas] had some good hits too as well. But we will do a better job. I think the more these guys get used to playing with each other — [Jon] Bostic, [Cole] Holcomb, [LB] Shaun Dion [Hamilton] at linebacker. The safeties Montae [Nicholson] and [S] Landon [Collins]. The corners, once we get the corners situated and comfortable playing together, I think it’ll all smooth out pretty smooth.