Prediction: Bears Can Pull Off Upset

With the season opener four days away, it's time to look ahead to Sunday's match-up with the Washington Redskins and why the Bears have a legitimate chance at leaving FedEx Field with a victory.

For obvious reasons, the bulk of the attention coming out of Chicago is the fact that the Bears will start a rookie quarterback in the season opener.

If there were ever an ideal scenario for an inexperienced signal caller to make his debut, this would not be the case. Washington runs an aggressive scheme under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and will consistently come after Kyle Orton with the blitz.

A much-improved offensive line will do their best to give Orton a chance to throw against a defense that has three former Bears. At the top of the list why Phillip Daniels, Walt Harris and Warrick Holdman are no longer in Chicago is they lack speed.

Muhsin Muhammad will face veteran cornerback Shawn Springs, while Harris will go up against the combination of Justin Gage and Bernard Berrian. Even if the match-up between Muhammad and Springs is a wash, Harris can be taken advantage of with Gage's size or Berrian's speed.

Orton has shown on more than one occasion that he's capable of coming back after making a mistake. An early interception will not shake his confidence even in front of a hostile crowd.

With all the focus on Orton, the running game will be the first option for offensive coordinator Ron Turner. Whether or not Cedric Benson will be available remains in doubt, but Thomas Jones averaged 5.3 yards per carry in the preseason. Establishing the ground game will allow Orton to use playaction against a Washington unit with only one thing on their mind – get after the quarterback.

Although Clinton Portis rushed for 171 yards when the two teams met last year, the Bears are a different unit defensively. Chicago allowed just 3.1 yards per carry in the preseason and held quality backs such as Edgerrin James and Willis McGahee in check.

Portis will be challenged to come close to half of his production this time around. A healthy Brian Urlacher will be glad to remind Portis why the middle linebacker is expected to return to the Pro Bowl and make a run at Defensive Player of the Year.

While the Bears will start a rookie quarterback, the Redskins also lack stability at the most important position on the field. Patrick Ramsey didn't impress in the preseason. He threw twice as many interceptions (2) as touchdowns (4) and entering his fourth year in the league he can no longer claim to be a developing quarterback.

It's time for him to put up numbers or move aside for first round pick Jason Campbell. The Redskins have a solid offensive line, which will give the Bears talented front four an early test. Ramsey was sacked an average of once every 12.7 pass attempts in the preseason.

When the pressure in the pocket forces him to make quick decisions it will lead to turnovers. Santana Moss is fast receiver that is trying to resurrect his career in Washington. David Patten has three Super Bowl rings on his resume, but is little more than a journeyman receiver.

If the Bears can get in the face of Peyton Manning and rattle the game's best quarterback, Ramsey should present little challenge. General manager Jerry Angelo once had interest in Ramsey, but if the team had acquired him they would be in the same position they currently are at quarterback. Looking for a long-term solution.

Predicting a win would be brash, but a low scoring affair late into the fourth quarter is likely. If the Bears are looking to make a statement, opening the season on the road with a rookie quarterback and coming away with a victory would be a good start.

Doug Brien comes up with a game-winning field goal in the closing seconds following an Orton led two-minute drive.

Bears 13, Washington 10

To see a prediction from a Washington writer, click here.

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