On Thursday night, the 0-4 Chicago Bears will help kick off week five of the NFL season by visiting the 2-2 Washington Commanders. This will mark the second time in two seasons that these teams battled on Thursday Night Football, as the Bears lost a 12-7 contest just 357 days ago at Soldier Field. Washington has had Chicago's number over the past 20 years, with the Bears earning just two wins in ten matchups, first in 2003 and most recently in 2019. If the Bears want to get back on the right track, both against Washington and as a team in general, it will be essential for the orange and navy to accomplish these three keys to success:
The Chicago Bears need to block Washington's star-studded defensive line
Led by edge rushers Montez Sweat and Chase Young, who are both on pace to record 10+ sacks on the year, Washington's defensive line is one of the most talented and productive across the league. Totaling four former first-round selections alongside defensive tackles Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, few teams in the NFL have invested as much at any position as Washington has across the defensive line.
The Commanders are finally reaping the benefits of this unit, as Washington is currently tied for fifth in the NFL for the most combined sacks (13) and tackles for loss (26) through four weeks. With a group that is capable of disrupting both the passing and rushing attack, it will be paramount for the Bears' offensive line to have their best game thus far.
The line is still banged up, with Braxton Jones on injured reserve and Teven Jenkins questionable for Thursday night, so the performance of reserves Larry Borom and Lucas Patrick may be crucial to the team's success. Fortunately, both players earned significant playing time last week against the Denver Broncos and performed well, helping the Bears finish with over 450 yards of total offense.
The Bears enjoyed their best offensive outing of the season last week, so the unit and the offensive line specifically should have some good momentum rolling heading into the nation's capital. However, Washington's front four, and their defense in general, will serve as a great test for the Bears offense and will need to be accounted for upfront on every down.