Monday Night Football Preview: Is Washington Primed for an Upset?
Last week, the referees gifted the Bears a last-second field goal victory over the Denver Broncos, due to a controversial roughing the passer penalty. On the other side, the Dallas Cowboys dismantled Washington by a score of 31-21. With controversy on each team, here are a few matchups likely to influence the outcome of tonight's game.
Looking at the Bears, Mitchell Trubisky has regressed sharply from a standout sophomore season. Through two games, Trubisky has completed a mere 58.3-percent of his passes for 348 total yards and no touchdowns. Taking very few chances downfield, his 7.7 average depth of target ranks 23rd in the NFL. However, Week 3 presents a get-right spot for Trubisky against a Washington secondary that ranks 29th in pass defense, according to our schedule-adjusted metrics. Despite the poor quarterback play, Allen Robinson has impressed through two games, including a 100-yard receiving performance in Week 1.
On the other side, Case Keenum continues to quarterback the Redskins, despite calls for rookie Dwayne Haskins to take his spot. Keenum has performed well to start the year, completing 62.3-percent of his passes against the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys while averaging 301 passing yards to with 5 touchdowns and no interceptions. The Bears remain one of the better defenses in the NFL but quietly allowed Joe Flacco to rack up 292 yards passing in Week 2. With Terry McLaurin presenting at least one legitimate pass-catcher, Keenum should hold off Haskins for at least another game here.
Running Back Breakdown
Acclimating to life in the NFL, David Montgomery saw his snaps rise to 44-percent in Week 2 while handing 18 carries. A third-round draft pick out of Iowa State, Montgomery was also targeted three times in the passing game. Despite the impressive performance, concerns remains with Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis mixing in for 38 and 25 percent of the Bears' snaps, respectively. Fortunately for Montgomery, through the first two weeks of the season, the Redskins have allowed over 100-yards to Eagles' running backs and Ezekiel Elliott.
On the flip side, the Redskins have turned to a committee featuring Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson in the wake of Derrius Guice's knee injury. This timeshare very much depends on game script, as Peterson offers almost zero pass-catching ability. With Chicago favored by four points, this game sets up for Thompson to play a multitude of the snaps. Through two weeks, Thompson has played 64 and 45-percent of the Redskins' snaps.
As it stands, Chicago holds a sizable defensive advantage according to our models. Through two weeks, Chicago ranks ninth overall, while Washington ranks 31st. Washington has struggled in both phases, ranking 31st against the run and 29th against the pass. Chicago, on the other had, ranks 16th against the pass and 2nd against the run.
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