Bears vs Redskins
1 – Redskins Special Teams must step up – The Redskins have struggled this year on special teams and last weekend gave up two huge returns against the Dallas Cowboys that likely sealed their fate in a loss. This weekend the Redskins will be facing perhaps the best return man in the history of the NFL in Devin Hester, and they will have to find a way to contain him and keep him out of the endzone. If the Redskins can’t contain Hester, they will be in for a long day.
2 – The Redskins must establish the running game – The Bears have some injuries up front on defense and have been susceptible to the run this year; Washington must find a way to run the ball early and often. Alfred Morris needs to have a big day for the Redskins offense to be successful. I expect to see the read-option used in certain situations to aid in the process, and Redskins QB Robert Griffin III looked like he was ready to run the ball more last weekend against the Cowboys as well. If Griffin is able to move the ball on the ground himself, he should single handling open up the passing offense for Washington and keep the Chicago defense honest. Many teams this year have been stacking the box against Washington, daring RG3 to run the ball, which until last weekend, he didn’t look highly comfortable doing.
3 – The Redskins Need to be more effective in the red zone – Last week, against the Cowboys, the Redskins showed that they could move the ball up and down the field fairly easily; the issues came once they made it inside the Cowboys 20. The Redskins had to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns, which cost Washington a win. It is unacceptable to have 433 yards of offense and only one touchdown to show for it. The Redskins will be facing a Chicago team that is giving up 26.8 points a game, which is seventh worst in the NFL.
4 – The Redskins secondary must show up – The Redskins secondary looked much improved against Dallas last week, holding Tony Romo under 200 yards passing just one week removed from a 506-yard, 5-TD day. DeAngelo Hall will have to have another good day at the office, much like the one he had last week when he shut down Dez Bryant, as he will be facing Brandon Marshall, which is no easy task. The Bears also have another dynamic receiver in Alshon Jeffery and will look to use him along with Devin Hester to attempt to pick on the Redskins secondary. The last time Jay Cutler faced Washington, he threw four interceptions to D Hall, which tied an NFL record.
5 – Better communication and clock management – Mike Shanahan spent a good portion of the last week trying to downplay the issues his team displayed against Dallas, but it was obvious the communications with Griffin, the sideline, and his receivers were off a week ago which lead to drives stalling out. The team just looked like they were not paying attention to the clock at all in certain situations and once called timeout after letting several seconds tick off the clock. With all the other aspects that haven’t exactly been working in Washington’s favor, this is one key the Redskins must master soon if they want to be effective at all this season.