Redskins head to Chicago, keeping slim playoff hopes alive

WASHINGTON — Sometimes the best way to get over a bad loss is to get back on the field quickly and try and bounce back. The short week for the Redskins gives them an opportunity to do just that. After a bad loss at home on Monday night, the Redskins head to Chicago on Saturday to try to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

“I mean, it’s not rocket science,” Jay Gruden said. “We are where we are; we’re on the outside looking in. We need some help, but what we need to do is win our game. None of that matters, what other people do, unless we have to take care of what we have to take care of.”

Gruden will have to get his guys ready to play on a short week for the second time in a month. They had the same situation on Thanksgiving when they traveled to Dallas.

“The biggest challenge is getting your team healthy,” Gruden said. “I think mentally they’ll be OK. Physically, we have got to do our best to make sure come Saturday afternoon they’re ready to roll.”

Between the short week and the injuries, the Redskins only held one full practice; the rest were walk-throughs. Jordan Reed (shoulder), Su’a Cravens (elbow) and Quinton Dunbar (concussion) all were held out of practice this week. Will Compton (knee) missed the game on Monday but did limited work on Thursday.

The Bears are 3-11, with all three wins coming at home. They played the Packers tough last week and have a top-10 overall defense, but have struggled a little bit against the run, allowing 115 yards a game and 4.2 yards per carry. That’s something the Redskins will try to take advantage of, especially since Rob Kelley had 11 yards on Monday night. It’s no secret that Jay Gruden wants to run the ball, but each game is different, and the team has gotten away from it lately.

The team understands there needs to be balance in the offense to be successful. Jordan Reed is not 100 percent, and he won’t be for the remainder of the season, but he’s been on the field and used as something of a decoy. It remains to be seen how much they will continue to do that Saturday, but when he’s on the field, it does make a difference.

While the Bears have struggled against the run, they can get after the quarterback: Chicago has 37 sacks, good for 4th in the NFL.

If the Redskins can win on Saturday, they’ll watch the late games a little more closely. The Bucs play the Saints at 4:25, and the Cowboys and Lions will battle on Monday night. The Redskins need to win their remaining two games and get some help, mainly from the Saints, Vikings and Cowboys, this weekend.

They had a chance on Monday to take a strong hold of the final playoff spot, but slipped up at home. Now, they must win and hope other teams help them out in the season of giving.

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