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Games vs. Redskins, Packers will say a lot about Bears

Receiver BrandMarshall (15) says he thinks Bears ‘‘have chance do something special around here.’’ | Nam Y. Huh/AP

Receiver Brandon Marshall (15) says he thinks the Bears ‘‘have a chance to do something special around here.’’ | Nam Y. Huh/AP

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Updated: October 20, 2013 1:28PM



WASHINGTON — This is the biggest game of the season for the Bears.

Again.

‘‘This is a really important game for us because it’s the next one,’’ receiver Brandon Marshall said. ‘‘I know it’s kind of cliché, but it is.’’

Actually, it’s one of the biggest clichés in the book, but it’s an indication coach Marc Trestman is getting through to Marshall. It’s Trestman who is the biggest proponent of the idea that each game is not only the biggest game but the only game, a season unto itself. To Trestman, there’s no such thing as a defining game.

‘‘What we’re trying to do is a collection of moments,’’ Trestman said. ‘‘Every play is a defining moment in the course of a game because it’s the most important play.’’

That said, the next two games will go a long way toward determining the great unknown regarding the 2013 Bears: Is this a playoff team?

After beating the Giants on a short week that was more about survival than anything else, the Bears have had 10 days to prepare for the 1-4 Redskins on Sunday at FedEx Field. Then they’ll get a full two weeks to prepare for the Trestman-Dom Capers showdown against the Packers on ‘‘Monday Night Football’’ on Nov. 4 at Lambeau Field.

That gives the Bears back-to-back games with ample time for the players to rest and recover and for Trestman’s staff to do what it seems to enjoy doing most: meet, plot, coach, meet, strategize and meet again. If the Bears don’t look like a better football team after these two games, all bets are off. But if they do . . .

‘‘We have a chance to do something special around here,’’ Marshall said. ‘‘But the thing that’s cool about coming in this building [Halas Hall] is we just focus on that day, this week. We’re not looking down the road.’’

First things first. The matchup against the Redskins offers the Bears a winnable road game against a foe any team with playoff aspirations should beat in Week 7.

‘‘It’s gonna be tough,’’ Marshall said. ‘‘They’re a better team than their record says. They’re just a few penalties away or a few missed assignments away. So it’s a scary team.’’

Be that as it may, this game is set up for the Bears to win. They have scored the most first-quarter points in the NFL this season (48); the Redskins have allowed the most (50). The Redskins are fifth in the NFL in total offense, but nearly 35 pecent of their yards (690 of 1,996) have come after falling behind big to the Eagles, Packers and Cowboys.

The Redskins have scored 79 of their 86 offensive points when they were trailing. Even in their lone victory, they trailed the Raiders 14-0. In fact, the Redskins have run 16 offensive plays with a lead all season; only the winless Jaguars have run fewer.

The Bears are an X-factor in the NFC — a potential 11-5 contender if the offense turns small steps into a giant leap but a potential 7-9 non-playoff team with more questions than answers if the defense can’t mount an NFL-quality pass rush.

The next two weeks, with a well-timed bye before the actual biggest game of the season, will go a long way toward determining which way they’re headed.

Email: mpotash@suntimes.com

Twitter: @MarkPotash



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