Week 3 of the NFL season comes to a close when the Washington Redskins play host to the Chicago Bears. Kickoff is set for 8:15 EST on Monday, September 23 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.
According to the Week 3 NFL odds, the Bears are 4-point favorites on the road. The game also has an over/under of 41.5 points.
At 0-2, the Redskins are in need of a win. For what it’s worth, Washington has put up a good fight the first two weeks of the season. They held a 20-7 halftime lead against the Eagles in Week 1, only see that lead evaporate in the second half. A week ago, the Redskins led the Cowboys in the second quarter, but again had trouble sustaining that success, ultimately losing 31-21.
If the Redskins can get one in the win column, they’ll have a chance to add to that win total with games against the Giants and Dolphins on the horizon. But Washington has to be able to win at home if they want to surpass the meager expectations they had heading into the season. Despite being underdogs, Monday’s game is a good opportunity to start making the home fans believe.
Meanwhile, the Bears are breathing a sigh of relief that they didn’t start the season 0-2. Chicago had a disappointing performance in Week 1, losing 10-3 to the Packers. They nearly lost last week as well, trailing the Broncos 14-13 with less than a minute left. But Mitchell Trubiski rallied the troops and the Bears benefited from a roughing the passer call to help set up the game-winning field goal. The fact that the Bears made a last-second field goal helps to exorcise some of the team’s demons from last year’s playoff loss.
After salvaging a 1-1 start with last week’s win, Chicago’s schedule sets up nicely for them. After Monday’s game in Washington, the Bears will play three of their next four games at home. The lone exception during that stretch is a neutral site game in London against the Raiders. In fairness, the Bears play some good teams during that stretch, but the Bears are still in a good position to rack up a few wins early in the season.
If I had the option, I’d pick against both of these teams. The under isn’t a bad option, but both of Washington’s games have far exceeded that point total, so I want to stay away from that. Instead, I’ll go with the home underdog on Monday night. I have little doubt that the Bears are the better team. But the Chicago offense is struggling too much right now to believe they can cover more than a field goal.
Outside of last week’s drive to set up the game-winning field goal, Trubisky looks like he’s regressed from last season. He’s playing like he did as a rookie. His completion percentage is under 60% and he’s yet to throw a touchdown pass. In fact, the Bears as a team have just one touchdown over two games. That’s not exactly the kind of team I want to pick to cover four points, especially on the road.
In defense of Trubisky, the running game that the Bears leaned on last season is nowhere to be found. Rookie David Montgomery has struggled to fill the shoes of Jordan Howard, at least early in the season. Mike Davis hasn’t been any better and Tarik Cohen hasn’t been utilized at all. Whether it’s the running game that gets going or Trubisky who plays better, something has to change for the Bears.
The silver lining is that the Washington defense has allowed over 30 points in each of their first two games. If it matters, the Redskins have played well defensively early in games. But with a few injuries on that side of the ball, they tend to wear down during the course of the game and end up giving up big plays.
The caveat as it relates to this game is that the Bears aren’t creating a lot of explosive plays. With the way the offense has performed, they may not even trust Trubisky to even attempt throws down the field. There’s no guarantee the Chicago offense wakes up this week, even against a vulnerable Washington defense.
On the other side of the ball, the Redskins haven’t been all that bad. The running game has been abysmal and Jordan Reed is still missing due to injury. But despite those limitations, Case Keenum has played well, averaging 300 yards per game while throwing five touchdowns and no interceptions. Even with the Redskins playing from behind, Keenum has only been sacked twice.
While I expect Keenum and the Washington offense to have a tough time against the Chicago defense, I think the Redskins can find a way to put some points on the board. After all, it’s not like they’ve been shutout the past two weeks. More importantly, I don’t trust the Bears to score that many points in this game. All things considered, I feel more comfortable leaning toward the home underdog and the points.