Two teams coming off heartbreaking losses meet on Thursday Night Football, as the surprisingly scrappy Washington Commanders host the appropriately winless Chicago Bears as six-point home favourites at FedEx Field.
Washington won its first two games over lesser competition — aka the Cardinals and Broncos — before falling back to .500 with back-to-back losses to the Bills (by a lot) and the Eagles (by an overtime field goal). The Bears hope to pull off the road upset after blowing a 21-point lead to a Broncos team that lost by 50 points the week before.
Bet on Bears vs. Commanders
Chicago has the second-worst point differential in the NFL (-62) and is one of only two remaining winless teams, along with Carolina.
It’s probably fair to say the NFL isn’t exactly putting its best foot forward in prime time this week, but the game does have some interesting angles for those looking for a little action.
And Washington could actually build some momentum toward a playoff berth this season if it doesn’t slip up here, as its next two opponents are the Falcons and Giants, who have looked absolutely awful in the early going.
Bears vs. Commanders odds
|Bears Moneyline Odds||+220|
|Commanders Moneyline Odds||-270|
|Spread odds||Commanders -6 (-110), Bears +6 (-110)|
|Over/Under||44.5 points (over -110, under -110)|
|Time/Date||Oct. 5, 8:15 p.m. ET|
About the Bears (0-4 SU, 0-3-1 ATS, 4-0 o/u)
The term, “dysfunctional,” hardly seems strong enough to describe what this once-proud franchise is going through these days. In fact, the Bears’ winless record might be the least of their problems.
Defensive coordinator Alan Williams resigned abruptly for what he said were health and family reasons. Quarterback Justin Fields made some veiled comments that seemed critical of the coaching staff. And wide receiver Chase Claypool remains exiled from the team for reasons head coach Matt Eberflus won’t divulge.
Oh, and the Bears haven’t won a game in nearly a year. They’re riding a 14-game losing streak despite wholesale off-season changes that actually revved up their fanbase.
Even with all that going on, Fields and receiver DJ Moore have shown enough lately to think the Bears could pull off a stunner here or at least cover the spread. Fields threw for a career-best 335 yards and four touchdowns against the Broncos, but bear in mind Denver surrendered 70 points to the Dolphins the week before and have easily been the worst defence in the league thus far.
To put it succinctly and, frankly, kindly, the Bears are a hot mess.
About the Commanders (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS, 2-2 o/u)
Quarterback Sam Howell has a year less experience than Fields and he, too, has shown some promise, particularly considering he was a fifth-round draft pick. He beat out Jacoby Brissett in the preseason and despite being sacked 14 times over the last two games, has helped keep this team competitive.
He bounced back against the Eagles after throwing four interceptions in the blowout loss to the Bills while getting sacked nine times. Given Chicago’s defensive shortcomings, including injuries to its secondary, this could be an opportunity for Howell to continue the positive momentum while making just his sixth pro start.
Make no mistake, however, this is a mediocre team, at best, with the No. 20 offence and a defence that’s tied for 21st despite having played one of the softest schedules in the league.
It’s a good bet Fields will look to exploit the early struggles of Commanders cornerback Emmanuel Forbes. The rookie had a rough game against the Eagles and teams have seen enough mistakes on film to throw his direction 25 times already this season.
The Commanders were hoping for a quicker adjustment to the NFL from Forbes, who they took with the No. 16 overall pick.
Listed at six-foot, Forbes’ relatively short stature has prompted opposing teams to try to match him up with their most physical receivers. Last week, the Eagles lined up A.J. Brown against him and Brown caught four touchdown passes. This week, Forbes could find himself having to contend with 6-foot-5, 220-pound receiver Equanimeous St. Brown.
Forbes allowed nine catches total last Sunday, so expect the Bears to continue trying to make his rookie season a painful learning experience.
Equanimeous St. Brown anytime touchdown
Bears LT Braxton Jones (neck) remains on injured reserve. Bears S Eddie Jackson (foot) has missed the past two games. Cornerback Jaylon Johnson (hamstring) missed last week’s game. Commanders wide receiver Curtis Samuel is dealing with a quadriceps injury.
It should be a pleasant evening for the fans and a dry one for both teams’ passing games. Forecasts are calling for partly cloudy skies and temperatures of about 18 C at kickoff with light winds at about 9 km/h.
- It’s impossible to ignore that 4-0 Bears record on hitting overs. They also went 10-7 in exceeding the point total in 2022. As for the Commanders, they are 0-2 on overs in home games this season.
- Specifically, Chicago has allowed the fourth-most passing yards per game (267.8), so keep that in mind when looking at Howell’s passing yards prop (241.5 yards, -110).
- One caveat to the over trends: the last time these teams met, the Commanders, with Carson Wentz at quarterback, managed just 99 passing yards and the Bears scored just seven points despite reaching the red zone three times.
Player prop trends
- Moore’s receiving yards prop (50.5 at -110) is interesting considering his recent connection with Fields. He is coming off his second 100-yard game of the season and has a 42% air-yard share of Chicago’s offence. He also leads the team with a 21% target rate. Lean over at this number.
- Howell is better than many teams thought when they were drafting in 2022 and given his early success, it’s worth considering that passing yards total (241.5, -110).
- Fields is a dynamic runner as well, of course, but his rushing yardage total (47.5, -110) feels a bit high here considering the Bears are getting more comfortable letting him air it out and he has averaged just 6.9 yards per rush this season. This number feels based on the old Justin Fields.
Wagers to consider
- Fields is showing signs of becoming the quarterback the Bears want him to be despite the circus going on all around him. He set new career bests in passing yards and touchdowns last week (though remember it was against the Broncos) and he completed his first 16 passes, quieting critics who question his accuracy. He and Moore have good synergy. Consider taking the over on his passing yardage (193.5, -110).
- Howell is a much better athlete than many people give him credit for and he has already rushed for a touchdown this season. Given the porousness of Chicago’s defence, +1800 is too good a price to pass up on Howell scooting into the end zone when the Commanders get close. If they reach the edge of the goal line, the NFL’s rule allowing other players to push the quarterback could help, too.