Free NFL Picks: Washington at Chicago 10-24-2010

October 20, 2010

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Washington Redskins at Chicago Bears

Sunday October 24th, 2010 1:00 PM EST

Line: Chicago-3

Overview:

The 4-2 Chicago Bears are on a steady decline. They limp into this game, lamenting a home loss against the Seahawks and an embarrassing effort against the Giants. The Bears began the season with a promising 3-0 record, but have since declined to going 1-2 in their last three games. Their only victory came against the 0-5 Carolina Panthers. The Washington Redskins are becoming more and more of a threat in the NFC. Despite having a 3-3 record, they have won two out of their last three games, knocking off the Eagles and the Packers. Their only loss was to the Colts. With one team falling apart and one team coming together, this is an intriguing match up.

Keys to the Game:

  • Washington’s defense dictates whether or not they win games. They have a defense that is packed with talent. Laron Landry has become a ferocious force at safety. While most teams should not boast about a safety leading the team in tackles, the Redskins should not be ashamed of their tackling machine. Landry makes plays twenty yards down field and five yards in the backfield. Unfortunately, despite having a fantastic group of pass rushers and run stoppers in their front seven, they have been less than desirable on the defensive side of the ball. The Redskins allow 298 yards a game in the air. When the Redskins win, their defense has played lights out. three times the Redskins defense has given up less than 20 points this season, each resulting in a victory. The Redskins seem to have gained some sort of continuity and their defense has stepped up in the last few games. With a struggling Bears offense, the Redskins have a real chance at taking advantage.
  • Julius Peppers needs to come out of hiding. He is going up against rookie Trent Williams this week. While Peppers is still widely viewed as an elite pass rusher, he was completely shut down last week by rookie Russel Okung. Peppers has been double teamed, which has given his teammates, like Israel Idonije who has 3.5 sacks this season, a chance to be more productive. Peppers has been double teamed his entire career, yet he has always been productive. He is still getting to the quarterback and creating pressure, but having only two tackles while going up against a rookie tackle is unacceptable. Peppers is the heart and sole of the defensive line. His production has slowly declined as the season progresses. Peppers needs to have a strong showing against the Redskins this week. While being double teamed has helped out the rest of the defense, the Bears don’t have the talent to punish teams in one on one match ups along the defensive front. The Bears don’t have the luxury of having multiple talents along the defensive line. They have one talent, who needs to play to his potential in order for the Bears to restore their dominance over teams.
  • Jay Cutler’s offensive line is going to shorten his career. The Seahawks are not a force to be reckoned with defensively. There are a slew of teams, including the Washington Redskins, who pose a bigger threat to the quarterback than Seattle. That being said, last week Cutler came back from a concussion and was greeted by the Seattle defense with six sacks and nine knockdowns. Mike Martz has an offensive scheme that calls for seven step drops and phenominal offensive line play. Over the years, Martz has succeeded when he had the personnel to pull his scheme off. When he doesn’t the team crumbles. Jay Cutler could succeed in the scheme, as could Matt Forte, but up front the team is vulnerable. This was exposed when they played the Giants and not one, but two quarterbacks were knocked out of the game. The Bears need to take into account that they have a raw offensive line that cannot cope with the complexities of a Mike Martz offense. Teams smell blood in the water and are taking no prisoners.

Wrap Up:

While the Chicago Bears may believe they command respect around the league, that notion may prove to he inaccurate as the season progresses. The Bears have splotchy offensive play that takes away from their above average defense. The Redskins are on the rise despite their average quarterback play and injured backfield. Momentum is everything and the Bears have none. I give the nod to the Redskins in this one. The points make this selection an easy one.

Free NFL Pick: Wahington +3


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