Kyle Orton has remained calm all week, but the only time it will matter is when he's in the huddle and making decisions on the field. Although he's played in front of bigger crowds during his Big Ten career, there is little doubt he will make mistakes against a good defense. The question is will he balance that with big plays as he did throughout the preseason. The Redskins will bring the blitz because they do not have the front four to put pressure on Orton. The offensive line is much improved over last year and RB Thomas Jones is solid in blitz pickup. An additional beat will give Orton time to take advantage of one-on-one matchups. Jones will give the offense balance by grinding out the tough yards with a little help from Cedric Benson.
Defensively the Bears have one thing in mind, stop Clinton Portis. Look for eight-men fronts to slow the ground game. Portis took advantage of a defense that was not at full strength a year ago and the unit is anxious to shut him down. Patrick Ramsey has speedy receivers, but is just as likely to hit them for a big play, as he is to throw an interception. Four years in the league have yet to yield much development for the former first round pick. The Bears have been able to put consistent pressure on the quarterback with their front four and will occasionally bring extra heat with a blitz.
The game will come down to what defense can give their offense good field position and possibly put points on the board. The Bears scored six times on defense last year, including once against the Redskins. Look for a similar scenario this time around, the Bears pullout a victory thanks to a late turnover by Ramsey that allows Doug Brien to put a cap on a 13-10 victory.
How the Redskins Will Win
Rich Tandler, WarpathInsiders.com
This game comes down to one matchup and that is Kyle Orton vs. Gregg Williams. The Bears' rookie quarterback may be a fine NFL player some day, but if he was the kind of quarterback that anyone, including the Bears, thought could win, even compete, in the season opener on the road against a top-flight defense, he wouldn't have lasted past the fourth pick, much less into the fourth round. Williams will have Orton's head spinning from shortly after the Star Spangled Banner is played until the final gun, if the QB lasts that long. In starting Orton, the Bears are bringing a knife to a gunfight.
Even if the Bears' offense is limited, the Redskins' offense will still have to score and that's where Clinton Portis comes in. The Bears haven't seen some 40% of the Redskins offense yet. Some of the undercover offense involves the long ball in the passing game and the Bears are very well equipped to handle that with their cover two defensive scheme. The other part of that 40% involves new blocking schemes and plays designed to take advantage of Portis' breakaway ability. Nobody has seen this; the old vanilla schemes were used during the preseason and Portis saw very limited action.
With the Bears defending well-documented plays (ones that, according to Jon Jansen, had been in use since 1992) all Portis could muster in the 2004 game against them was 171 yards. With the Bears not knowing where he's coming from and running behind one of the game's best offensive lines, Portis will dominate the game on the ground. That and the Redskins' defense shutting down the Orton-led offense won't make for a pretty game and it won't lead to a barrage of points for the Redskins but it will be good enough for Washington to win 17-6.