By Ryan Daly – Betting/Denver Broncos Writer
Monday Night Football sees Mitch Trubisky and the Chicago Bears offense travel to Washington in desperate need of getting something going offensively against the 28th ranked defense in the league according to Football Outsiders.
Mitch Trubisky has no excuses this time
Unfortunately for Mitchell Trubisky, he and the Chicago Bears are going to have to live with the ”they could have had Patrick Mahomes” comments until the end of time. However, Trubisky doesn’t need to be Patrick Mahomes to win games, he has the best defense in the NFL, get this offense operating at a middle-of-the-pack level and let the defense do the rest.
By no means am I defending Trubisky here but he’s faced a Packers defense that is looking like a top 5 unit two weeks in, and he’s traveled to Mile High in one of the most notoriously tough situational spots in the NFL – and his former defensive coordinator was coaching the opposition.
There will be no such excuses for Trubisky and this Adam Nagy offense should they once again underwhelm under the lights. This Washington Redskins defense has allowed 63 points through two games, coming into week three that ranks 31st in the NFL. Against the Eagles and the Cowboys, they allowed 8.3 yards per pass, ranking the secondary 26th in the league entering Week 3.
One of the biggest problems for this defense so far has been getting pressure on the QB, ranking 31st in pass rush through the first two weeks. Their 25% pressure rate puts them in the bottom four in the NFL in that category. This is especially important when you look at the splits between Trubisky’s performance when pressured and when he gets a clean pocket.
In week one against the Packers Trubisky averaged 2.9 yards per attempt (YPA) when he was pressured, this jumped to 6.2 YPA when he had a clean pocket. In week two against Denver, his YPA improved from 1.0 when under pressure to 5.2 when he had a clean pocket. There was a clear improvement in the Bears offensive line play from week one to week two where they didn’t give up a single sack, if they can keep that up against the Redskins then we should see this offense get into a better rhythm.
Redskins can’t stop the run
One of the strangest aspects of the Bears offensive game plan in Week One was the disparity between the number of run plays and pass plays. Despite the fact the Packers only scored ten points, Chicago threw the ball 45 times to 15 runs. We saw a more balanced game plan in Week Two at Denver with 29 rushing plays to 27 passing plays. I think we will see an even more run-heavy approach here from Chicago when you consider the Redskins rank 27th in the league against the rush.
I think this might be the David Montgomery breakout game, he got a pretty substantial workload last week with 18 carries for 62 yards (3.4 yards per carry), we should see more of the same this week and his rushing total has been set at 57.5 with William Hill (1.83) and the way this Redskins defense has been playing against the run I’d be very surprised if he didn’t cover that with ease.
There’s life in the Redskins offense
One of the surprises of the season so far has actually been the Redskins offense. Case Keenum has completed 69% of his passes for 601 yards and five TDs with a passer rating of 111.2. It hasn’t been perfect, there have been a few big plays passed up – his miss of Paul Richardson in the Cowboys game sticks out – but Keenum has outperformed expectations in this offense so far.
It becomes even more impressive when you consider the lack of any real support in the run game – through the first two games no Redskins running back has eclipsed 30 yards on the ground and the team as a whole have less than 100 yards rushing. Rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin has been one of the few bright lights on the season with 10 catches for 187 yards (18.7 yards per catch) and 2 TDs in two games. His receiving total is set at 52.5 with William Hill (1.83).
So what’s the betting?
Despite the fact this Redskins offense has been putting up points through the first two weeks, this is still the Bears defense, they’ve allowed 24 points across two games. For that reason, I can’t possibly be confident in the total going over 41 here, although given how leaky the Redskins defense has been, that would be the way I’d lean.
I’m confident Chicago will cover the spread here, -5.5 is a significant spread to cover away from home but I think we finally see some signs of life out of this Bears offense and we may see some regression out of Case Keenum purely based on the fact he’s up against an elite defense.
As mentioned above, David Montgomery is set up for a hefty workload tonight after seeing 18 carries against Denver. If the Bears cruise into an easy lead here he should match those touches at the very least and I’d expect him to be a bit more efficient with his touches against one of the league’s worst run defenses so far.
I tend not to stray too far from the obvious when it comes to Trubisky in this offense. One of the biggest knocks on Mitch has been his inability to go through his reads and wait for the plays to progress whilst receivers get open. According to PFF, his 29.9 passer rating on second-read throws (throws made after the QB has clearly moved his eyes to the next receiver in the progression) is last in the NFL among active QBs, with a completion rate of 50%.
He can sometimes force the ball to his first receiver – Allen Robinson and Tarik Cohen have 21 receptions between them, the rest of the team combined have 21 receptions. Robinson has been overthrown a few times too he has 20 targets in total. The narrative surrounding Trubisky means Robinson has been set some very achievable lines for this one – I trust the receptions line most.
Bears over 23.5 total points (1.83)
Montgomery over 57.5 rushing yards (1.83)
Montgomery 2 or more TDs (9.0)
Allen Robinson over 4.5 receptions (1.80)