The Chicago Bears at Washington Redskins matchup on Monday Night Football may not look like much to the masses, but these two teams have provided fireworks in the past. One thing the Bears should know by now is they can’t afford to overlook this opponent. If for no other reason than Chicago hasn’t beaten Washington since 2003. The Redskins are a perfect 7-0 during the subsequent stretch since that year.

Also given the murderous schedule that looms ahead, this is the sort of game the Bears have to win. They had a bad tendency of playing down to their competition at times in 2018 and it cost them in the end. Miami? New York? Those losses ended up landing them the playoff game against Philadelphia and we all know how that ended. This team is in no position to scoff at the fact that Washington is 0-2.

They’re a desperate football team and desperate teams tend to bring their best. So here is what people should know and expect ahead of the primetime matchup.

Chicago Bears at Washington Redskins breakdown

Storylines:

Seeking the Trubisky spark – For two weeks now, Mitch Trubisky has looked like a quarterback who isn’t “getting it.” He’s still missing wide open receivers, still making bad reads, and still looking unequal to the task of playing against good defenses. Hopes are high that playing a Redskins defense that is among the worst in the NFL against the pass so far (25th), it might be a much-needed confidence boost for him to have a big night on national TV.

Surviving without Trent Williams – All things considered, the Redskins have weathered the storm fairly well without their All-Pro left tackle. They allowed just one sack against Dallas last week. However, Chicago figures to be their toughest challenge yet with Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks leading the charge into Washington. It feels like the loss is bound to be felt sooner or later.

Injuries:

Dominique Rogers-Cromartie – Washington’s secondary is substantially banged up. They had hoped the longtime veteran Rogers-Cromartie could help ease the strain but he is now on Injured Reserve with an ankle injury. Two other corners are also listed as questionable for the game on Monday Night. Suffice to say the team will be hoping for a big performance out of their reserves because their pass rush may not be much help.

Bilal Nichols – Expectations were high for the former 5th round pick after his tremendous rookie year. Unfortunately, he’s suffered a broken hand. This will cause him to miss some time. The team doesn’t believe Injured Reserve will be necessary but it may end up being a few weeks before he can once again see action. Until then backup Nick Williams, who had a sack in Denver, figures to see more action.

Key matchups:

Khalil Mack vs. Morgan Moses – While people focus on the loss of Williams on the left side, right tackle Moses for Washington has struggled thus far. He’s already given up nine pressures including two hits and a sack on the quarterback. Now he has Mack coming to town. The two met once before in 2017. Mack got only one pressure but it was a hit on the QB. He also didn’t have the defensive help around him in Oakland he’ll have in this game.

Trey Burton vs. Jon Bostic – Burton finally returned last week from his groin issue and made two catches for five yards. He figures to be a bit more active in this game as he rounds into better shape with more practice. One guy who figures to see him quite a bit is Redskins linebacker Bostic who has struggled quite a bit in coverage, giving up four catches including a touchdown the past two weeks.

X-factors:

David Montgomery – The Redskins run defense has been notably porous through the first two weeks. They just got done allowing 213 yards against Dallas and 123 yards the week before. This is good news for Chicago as they work to feed their rookie running back Montgomery after his solid game in Denver. Part of that success will be the offensive line, who still needs to improve their blocking up front.

Terry McLaurin – By far the best weapon Washington has had on offense is rookie receiver McLaurin. Nobody really thought much of the Ohio State product but his skill set was quietly intriguing thanks to speed and route running prowess. Now he leads the team with 187 yards and two touchdowns. He finds ways to get open and will be a challenge for the Bears secondary to keep in check.

Prediction: Bears win 23-13

Washington is at home but the matchups seem to favor Chicago for the most part. That said, Jay Gruden is an excellent head coach and will have his team ready to play. This game will likely be close for at least the first half. The Bears defense cannot afford to take Case Keenum lightly. He knows them well. Trubisky won’t set the world on fire but he’ll get the offense into the end zone a couple of times to help get another tough win.