Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:57 AM

MNF - Bears at Redskins

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Bears  (-5.5, 41.5)  at Redskins, 8:15 pm ET, ESPN

Hopefully the guys in stripes relax with the penalties in Landover since points aren’t likely to be plentiful and Tom Brady may be tuned in with his itchy Twitter trigger-finger loaded and ready.

The rumor around the NFL on Sunday was that officiating crews had been told to relax some on calling every single holding penalty, which has been a point of emphasis early on. A fun day of football unfolded with multiple high-scoring games serving as the top buffet offerings, but Monday’s menu item pits a pair of teams that have started slowly and may mix in some inclement weather to deliver an unwatchable product that you have to stay tuned in for presuming the game is at least close.

Washington (0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS) hasn’t looked particularly effective since the first half of its Week 1 loss to the Eagles in which it blew a 17-0 lead before avoiding a double-digit loss via touchdown with six seconds left. The defense has given up a pair of 30-point games against Philadelphia and Dallas while Keenum has thrown for 600 yards and five scores without being in position to win a game come fourth quarter.



Chicago (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS) counterpart Mitchell Trubisky flopped in the season-opening home loss to Green Bay and made up for a brutal game in Denver by putting the team in position to steal back a 16-14 win they nearly let get away, completing a 25-yard pass to Allen Robinson on 4th-and-15 with a second left to send up a 53-yard field goal from new kicker Eddy Pineiro. That kick has completely changed the narrative regarding the Bears, who have scored a single touchdown in two games. Instead of panic setting in, head coach Matt Nagy is encouraged that Trubisky will improve as his own play-calling does, not to mention thankful that the defense has surrendered just 12 points per game to give Chicago a chance.

Robinson has looked effective as the No. 1 receiver, but the rest of the offense has really struggled and Trubisky has been especially disappointing. Nagy has seen enough of his erratic throws in practice to trust his run game ahead of even short passes, while an offensive line that has dealt with excellent defensive fronts probably won’t catch the break of missing Washington’s top player, defensive tackle Jonathan Allen. Read the injury report portion of this preview below for more on his availability, but the likelihood is that he’ll be out there after missing the majority of snaps thus far following a first-half injury in Philadelphia.

The Bears have yet to allow a point in the third quarter, which is a great sign new coordinator Chuck Pagano has a strong feel for what he inherited personnel-wise from Vic Fangio, who moved on to become head coach in Denver. Between his penchant for exotic blitzes and the trust he puts in his defensive guys to take chances and make plays, the Bears’ alpha group remains the defense, and they’ll need to step up to throw Keenum off his rhythm and take advantage of a young receiving corps led by rookie Terry McLaurin, who has touchdown catches in his first two games as a pro.

Bears fans will get another look at old rival Adrian Peterson, who is back in an RB1 role due to an injury to Derrius Guice but was held to just 25 yards on 10 carries by the Cowboys. Washington needs a vintage performance from Peterson to keep the Bears defense from coming after Keenum, who will again be working behind an offensive line missing long-time anchor Trent Williams. The All-Pro left tackle remains away from the team in a contract dispute, which combined with tight end Jordan Reed’s continued absence due to a concussion, leaves Washington awfully inexperienced on the offensive side of the ball.

Keenum has responded thus far but will be seeing the best defense he’s faced thus far. The worst-case scenario for the ‘Skins would be a double-digit deficit that would allow the Bears to disregard their run defense and come after him. To avoid such a fate, the Greg Manusky-led defensive unit that has the coordinator on the hot seat by coming in 30th in the NFL in yards and points allowed can’t afford to let Trubisky find a flow on the road. The third-year starter taken ahead of league MVP Patrick Mahomes and Houston’s Deshaun Watson went 5-3 on the road last season but threw just five touchdown passes away from Soldier Field and was far less aggressive. We’ll see if Nagy is more willing to take the training wheels off despite his inconsistency thus far in 2019.

Thunderstorms are in the forecast and could potentially be in the mix by halftime, which could turn this into a punt-fest if both coordinators stall out conservatively waiting for the other team to make the first mistake. The total opened as high as 42.5 at various shops but has been bet down to 41 and may continue to dip if money comes in on the 'under.'

ODDSMAKER'S TAKE

Caesars' Senior Oddsmaker Alan Berg provides insights from behind the counter.

"Last Monday the public recognized the mismatch with Browns-Jets and were rewarded. Sharp action was rather light until +7 appeared they were scooped up immediately," said Berg, who you can follow on Twitter @Percentberg. "Tonight's tilt is a bit different as both teams have really struggled out of the gate. Obviously the Bears thus far are a bigger disappointment between the two but the optimism is still reflected in Chicago as a -5.5-point favorite at Caesars.

"We took a highly regarded bet on the Bears at 4.5. The public bettors don't look as eager to back Chicago but most of them will eventually end up on them by kickoff."

Chicago Bears
Projected season win total: 9 (Over -140, Under +120)
Odds to win NFC North (pre-Week 1/current):7/4 to 14/5
Odds to win NFC (pre-Week 1/current): 5/1 to 12/1
Odds to win Super Bowl (pre-Week 1/current): 12/1 to 25/1
 
Washington Redskins
Projected season win total: 6 (Over +130, Under -150)
Odds to win NFC East (pre-Week 1/current): 20/1 to 40/1
Odds to win NFC (pre-Week 1/current): 150/1 to 500/1
Odds to win Super Bowl (pre-Week 1/current): 300/1 to 1000/1
 
LINE MOVEMENT

Neither the Bears nor Redskins have impressed over their first two games, and odds to win the NFC and Super Bowl at Westgate, but these teams are certainy perceived differently. The Bears have underperformed with Trubisky not taking a step forward yet and the offense struggling, but they're still regarded as dangerous in the fairly wide-open NFC. The perception of the 'Skins is that they'll finish among the lowest of the low in the conference, so odds may not be more lucrative that now if you believe a home upset here will spark a revival few others see coming.

The Packers, Vikings and Lions are off to strong starts in the NFC North, so a setback here would put the Bears at the bottom of a division where they they came into the week even with Minnesota (14/5) and ahead of Detroit (13/2). Green Bay (5/4) is the division favorite. Dallas and Philadelphia opened the week as co-favorites (10/11) to win the NFC East, so congratulations if you got in on the Cowboys before those numbers are adjusted following Sunday's results.

As far as this matchup is concerned, the Bears were installed as a 4.5-point favorite when the Westgate's early numbers were announced, opened the week as a 4-point 'chalk' throughout most shops and was bet up to 5.5 points on Sunday. The number is likely to fluctuate between 4.5 points and 5.5 points up until kickoff.

The money line opened at Chicago -200 at Caesars and has since climbed to -230. If you're in on the home underdog 'Skins to pick up their first victory, they've climbed from +175 to +190.

INJURY CONCERNS

Allen, a former Alabama standout who has quietly become one of the NFL's most formidable young forces up front, has vowed to play after suffering a knee injury and participated in full on Saturday. Safety Montae Nicholson will also go after dealing with a foot issue and tackle Morgan Moses (knee) will try and help make up Williams' absence.


The 'Skins will be missing LB Cassanova McKinzy and may be without corner Quinton Dunbar, so a suspect secondary could be even thinner. CB Fabian Moreau should play but has been bothered by an ankle issue. Veteran CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie landed on IR earlier this week.

The Bears appear to be the healthier group, ruling out only DT Bilal Nichols. Standout safety Eddie Jackson should play through a shoulder issue and nose tackle Eddie Goldman practiced through an oblique injury on Saturday and is expected to play. Pineiro, on the heels of his heroic season-altering make, is questionable after sustaining an oblique injury in the team weight room on Friday. If he can't play, Chicago will have until 3 PM ET on Monday to sign another kicker.

RECENT MEETINGS (Redskins 7-2 SU, 7-2 ATS last nine; OVER 5-3-1)

12/24/16 Redskins 41-21 at Bears (WASH -3, 49)
12/13/15 Redskins 24-21 at Bears (WASH +3.5, 43)
10/20/13 Redskins 45-41 vs. Bears (WASH +1, 47.5)
10/24/10 Redskins 17-14 at Bears (WASH +3, 40)
12/6/07 Redskins 24-16 vs. Bears (WASH -3, 40)
9/11/05 Redskins 9-7 vs. Bears (CHI +6, 33)
10/17/04 Redskins 13-10 at Bears (WASH +1.5, 33.5)
12/21/03 Bears 27-24 vs. Redskins (WASH +4, 35)
12/23/01 Bears 20-15 at Redskins (CHI +1, 33)

NEXT WEEK'S NUMBERS POSTED

The Westgate opens its advance lines for the following week on Tuesdays and Week 4 currently has the Bears as a 3-point home favorite against the Vikings. The Redskins were listed as a 2-point underdog against the Daniel Jones' led Giants, but that number figures to change given Saquon Barkley's likely absence.

Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA

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