Following last week’s debacle on Monday Night Football, the NFL is hoping to shine a more positive light on the game in primetime this week.
The Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears meet up under the bright lights in an intriguing match of two teams that mirror each other. Both squads have Pro Bowl-caliber quarterbacks that can be mistake prone, both teams have questionable offensive lines and suspect running games. On the flip side, both teams have relatively reliable defenses.
Look for the team that makes the fewest mistakes to be the one that comes away with the win. That’s more likely to be the Cowboys since they are playing at home.
Chicago Bears @ Dallas Cowboys
NFL Betting Odds: Dallas -3
How The Bears Can Win
Chicago has to get their passing game going because Matt Forte is doubtful with an ankle problem and even though Michael Bush is a solid backup, he is more of a grinder and less effective in the passing game than Forte. Jay Cutler has been terrible to start the season and it is partly due to an offensive line that is leaky, at best, and atrocious as worst. Brandon Marshall has had a good start to his season in Chicago, but it all starts and ends with Cutler, who has to make better decisions, which has been a running theme for him.
The defense should be able to hold its own, ranking sixth in both rushing and passing yards allowed, and as usual, the key will be Julius Peppers’ ability to get into the backfield and disrupt things for the Bears.
How The Cowboys Can Win
The ‘Boys are in the opposite boat as they’ve been able to pass the ball (13th in passing yards), but they can’t seem to run at all (29th in rushing yards) and they have an explosive back in DeMarco Murray, who needs more touches. Murray had a nice game to kick off Week 1, but it has been a struggle for the last two and if the Cowboys can get Murray going, that opens things up for Tony Romo, who also needs Dez Bryant to wake up and be the big-play receiver that everyone thinks he could be.
Dallas seems to have improved its pass defense, which is second, but the defensive-back area has a few injuries and that ranking is also inflated because the Cowboys are 16th against the run. The Bears could end up trying to pound the ball with Bush and that would take the game out of the hands of the Dallas offense.
Dallas is favored by a field goal at home on Monday night, and this is the first meeting between these two since September 2010, when the Bears emerged with a 27-20 win in Dallas. The two have met five times since 1997, with the Cowboys winning and covering on three occasions, so there isn’t much to gain from recent history.
The Bears need to pass the ball; the Cowboys need to run the ball. This game could come down to play-calling and execution on the offensive end and as shaky as Dallas is, the Bears could be an even worse shape and they don’t have their best offensive weapon. If Cutler turns the ball over two times or more, this could be a rout, so roll with the ‘Boys in “Big D”.
NFL Pick: Cowboys -3