After a dud of a Monday Night game between the Giants and Seahawks, we’ll look ahead to Week 5 for a matchup between the Commanders and the Bears. On paper, this matchup looks to be just as ugly as Monday night’s game but perhaps we saw some signs of life from Justin Fields and the Bears in Week 4.
The Eagles narrowly defeated the Commanders in overtime as Washington continues to struggle mightily in pass protection. Sam Howell is the most sacked QB in the league, despite Daniel Jones taking TEN, yes, ten sacks on Monday night. Despite this, the Washington offense has been surprisingly good with Howell at the helm.
Washington has the skill players (Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, Brian Robinson) to formulate a well-balanced offensive attack and Howell has been just good enough so far to keep Washington afloat. Due to the dichotomy of their results in limited sample size, it’s hard to rate Washington much better than average as an offense.
In Week 1 the Commanders squeaked by the Cardinals after committing numerous turnovers. That being said, this Cardinals team has ended up looking a lot better than people anticipated as many had them circled as the worst team in the league.
In Week 2 the Commanders erased a 21-3 deficit and beat the Denver Broncos 35-33. Howell didn’t throw an interception in this one but did fumble, while Brian Robinson did much of the heavy lifting with 87 yards and two scores on the ground. This was a good win for Washington, however, again much to my surprise, this Broncos defense has turned out to be one of the worst in the NFL through four weeks.
In Week 3 the Commanders were curb stomped by the Buffalo Bills at home. The Bills sacked Howell nine times and he threw four interceptions in a game the Commanders were never really in. It’s hard to fault Howell and the offense against the #1 rated team per DVOA in a game where the Commanders didn’t come close to protecting Howell.
Circling back to Week 4, the Commanders almost and probably should have beaten the Philadelphia Eagles on the road if not for a few questionable calls and perhaps a poor Ron Rivera decision not to go for two to end the game in regulation. Howell continued to show ability and willingness to scramble for positive games as the pass protection was nowhere to be found.
Week 5 - enter the 0-4 Chicago Bears. The second worst team in terms of defensive DVOA and the overall worst team in the league according to that metric. In terms of pass defense, the Bears are ranked second worst in almost every category. EXP points added, yards per attempt, yards per completion to name a few.
The Bears are lucky the Dolphins ran up the score on the Broncos in Week 3, otherwise, it could easily be the Bears who are the worst defense in the NFL. If you’ve noticed a trend in our quick week by week analysis of the Commanders offense, the team’s biggest weakness is the pass protection.
Lucky for the Commanders that is not something the Bears defense does. They rank 30th in the league with just a 15.1% pressure rate and have generated a league worst two sacks on the season. Sam Howell will have another opportunity to face a bottom five defense and I’m expecting a game similar to how Washington performed in Week 2 against the Broncos.
In Week 4, Fields had perhaps his best passing game as a pro finishing with a 133 passer rating and throwing for 335 yards and four touchdowns. However, as the Bears defense began to unravel in the second half, the offense came to a grinding halt.
Fields gifted the Broncos with a fumble six on their penultimate drive and then sealed the deal with an interception with 30 seconds left on the clock. The once vaunted Commanders pass rush has only performed at about league average so far in 2023, so the Bears should provide a great opportunity for a get right game.
The line has been pushed out to -6.5 or -7 for the Commanders which might be too much, but the Bears combination of both on and off field issues makes it impossible for me to back them. Instead I’ll be going over on the Commanders team total at 25.5.
The Bears have allowed at least 27 points in every game thus far in 2023. I’ll shy away from the overall total in the game as I’m not ready to buy that Justin Fields and the Bears are any good.