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I've been known to agonize for thousands of words before coming up with a tentative prediction. Not this time. This one is easy. The Redskins will trash the Chicago Bears.
There is only one matchup that I need to know about—Kyle Orton vs. Gregg Williams. The Bears' rookie QB may have potential to be a good pro quarterback, but this is the first NFL game he has ever participated in in any way, shape, or form except perhaps as a spectator when he was in high school. Williams, on the other hand, has coached in a couple of hundred NFL games. Whether his team is matched up against the likes of Orton or against a 10-year veteran with Hall of Fame credentials, his goal is always the same—rattle the opposing quarterback.
Orton will have the opportunity to meet, up close and personal, nearly every member of the Redskins' defense. He'll get introduced to Cornelius Griffin when the Redskins' defensive tackle puts his facemask into Orton's sternum. He'll only get a quick glance at Shawn Springs before the cornerback plants his back into the FedEx Field turf. It's unlikely that he'll see LaVar Arrington before he helps him off of the grass since the linebacker will be coming from Orton's blind side. Finally, when Sean Taylor comes after him from who knows where, Orton will want the license number of the truck that hit him. Note to Kyle, it will be # 21.
In all, Orton will have to consider himself fortunate if he can drop back and be comfortable in the pocket more than five or six times. The rest of the time he will either be running for his life or accumulating grass stains from having been slammed to the ground so often.
With Orton being slapped silly, who on the Bears is going to generate any offense? Muhsin Muhammad can't make a catch if his quarterback spends more time on his back than a hooker at a convention in Vegas. Thomas Jones might sneak through for a few yards here and there, perhaps he could break one for 30 yards or so, but he can't carry the team against the Redskins' defense. So who else is there? Justin Gage? Desmond Clark? Very, very unlikely.
Not so fast, my friend, you might say. The Redskins' offense isn't exactly a juggernaut either and the Bears defense can't exactly be described as soft. True those. Chicago's cover two defense isn't a good matchup for a team that wants to establish a deep passing game as the Redskins do. True that.
There are a couple of flaws in the scenario that says that neither team will score much and that the game will come down to a late break. One of them is that the Redskins' offensive line is one of the elite units in the game. Note the lack of qualifiers such as they "might" be or they have the "potential" to be elite. They are right now. All five of them, Samuels, Dockery, Rabach, Thomas, and Jansen, could start for most of the teams in the NFL. They're good blocking for the run and they're good against the pass rush. Every member of the line won't make the Pro Bowl but every one of them has a shot at it. They won't allow the Chicago front four to generate the pass rush that they need.
The other factor is Clinton Portis. He ran for 171 yards the last time the two teams met in Chicago in 2004, averaging 4.8 yards a carry. It was too bad that the Redskins really hadn't figured out how to use Portis in the offense as they have by now or he really could have done some damage. On Sunday, he'll follow the zone blocking from the Redskins' elite offensive line and put up over 150 yards and score a pair of touchdowns.
Despite the prowess of the line and the productivity of Portis, the Redskins won't put up a lot of points. Patrick Ramsey will make some plays for both teams. Thomas Jones' running could set up a score or two for the Bears, but they will only be three pointers. Perhaps those who only see the score in the paper on Monday will think it was a fairly competitive game.
But those who watch the game will know otherwise. The Redskins will dominate on defense from start to finish, they will get their offense in control by halftime and will trash the Bears by a score of:Washington 17, Chicago 6
The writers from our affiliated Chicago site, the Bear Report, have a different point of view as to how the game will unfold. You can read their prediction here.