The 2-1 Cowboys are coming off a win they were lucky to get as the offense was terrible last week against Tampa Bay and the defense bailed them out. They will be facing the Chicago Bears this week in the spotlight of Monday Night Football. Dallas last faced the Bears in 2010 when they lost at Cowboys Stadium 27-20. The SportDFW crew takes a look at the Dallas Cowboys vs Chicago Bears week 4 matchup and tells you what will happen Monday night.
Sep 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) cannot make the catch during the third quarter of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cowboys Stadium. Cowboys beat the Buccaneers 16-10. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE
James “Brady” Parker
The Dallas Cowboys are coming off of an ugly win, but a win nonetheless. The Cowboys defense is playing lights out with DeMarcus Ware leading the way. Ware had a couple of sacks and a pair of forced fumbles against the Bucs. Rob Ryan has his defense playing well. That said, the offensive line is playing ugly football with 13 penalties against the Bucs. Those mistakes must be eliminated if the Cowboys are going to win. The penalties show a total lack of focus. Also, Jason Witten must regain his composure because without his BFF Witten, Romo’s play will suffer. Jason will figure it out, he is a future HOF player.
The Cowboys’ offensive line has 5 players in new positions: Tyron Smith moved to left tackle and Doug Free to right tackle in addition to the two new guards Dallas picked up during free agency, Nate Livings and Bernadeau Mackenzie. Hopefully they will start to jell sooner than later. Dallas at home with the defense playing great, I see, Dallas Cowboys 24 – 14 Chicago Bears.
Jay Cutler throws 3 picks to Romo’s 2 as the Cowboys win a squeaker. Dallas Cowboys 16 – 13 Chicago Bears
This contest will be a battle of the trenches once again. Both teams have a suspect offensive line. Whichever team can have a successful running game has the best chance of winning. However, I have to give the edge to Chicago. Not only is Matt Forte coming back this week, but (in spite of their poor pass protection) Chicago’s offensive line clearly does a better job of run blocking. The Cowboys have struggled at running in the red zone for a long time now. Even without Forte in the mix, the Bears have rushed for 311 yards and 4 TDs to the Cowboys’ 230 yards and 1 TD (28th in the NFL). Whichever team can stop the run, make the other team one-dimensional and have more success at getting to the QB will have a better chance at winning. The difference between Chicago and Dallas is the fact that the Bears currently lead the NFL with 14 sacks. The Cowboys only have 7. Why is that? Because they don’t rely on primarily 1 player (Ware who has 4 of Dallas’ 7 sacks) to get pressure. They have two big DTs in Melton and Paea who can be very disruptive in the middle.
Sep 13, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers (90) during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The Packers defeated the Bears 23-10. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
However, when they go to the nickel (with the 3 man front), Melton has the athletic ability to play DE opposite All-Pro Julius Peppers. In this situation, Paea, (the holder of the combine’s all-time bench press record) will be lined up directly over center (Cook). He is not only much bigger, but stronger. This means you now have 2 guys who are very effective at getting to the QB on the edge (Melton and Peppers), a mammoth NT (Paea) who has the ability to collapse a pocket, with the added threat of 1st round draft pick Shea McClellin who has proven very capable of rushing from the edge. Combine that with Urlacher’s ability to rush up the middle behind Paea and the Cowboys have some serious problems. What this means is, they have 3 guys on the defensive line that require a double team. This frees up McClellin and Urlacher to raise havoc. We haven’t seen Cook against a big NT lined up directly over the top of him yet. This is the true test of an NFL center.
The Cowboys have an advantage at the QB position as long as they can protect Tony. Cutler has a lot of arm strength, but he doesn’t have the touch on the ball or the accuracy that Tony does. He is currently the 31st ranked QB in the NFL (58.6 passer rating). Cutler is in no way as accurate as Tony Romo, nor does he have the escape ability. Cutler is a known gunslinger who is overconfident in his ability to fit the ball into a tight window. If Ware actually gets some help for a change, Cutler is far from mobile. If the Cowboys stop the run early and force Cutler to pass, with the upgrades in the secondary and a healthy Jenkins, this should be an easy win for the Cowboys provided Jason Garrett calls the game in a way that allows Tony to be Tony; using bootlegs and short quick passes. JG has had a tendency to call lots of deep routes, forcing Tony to hold the ball too long. Tony is currently ranked 2nd in the NFL with over 10 yards per completion, but nearer the bottom in TD passes because of all the penalties and pressure he has to deal with. There has got to be improvement on special teams and the Cowboys have to contain Hester. The offensive line will determine the ultimate outcome of this game though. They have to give Tony decent down and distance situations, by showing some discipline and avoiding all the foolish penalties, negative run plays and sacks. Keep in mind that Tampa Bay only had a combined 3 sacks prior to playing Dallas and got 4 against them. They are in no way in the same league as Chicago in the pass rush department. I can’t predict a score, but I can say this much,I don’t think it will be a shoot-out between the quarterbacks because both have suspect offensive lines. I just hope Romo survives to play another day.
Sep 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) in pass coverage during the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Buccaneers 16-10. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE
The Bears’ defensive line scares me, and it should scare Tony Romo as well because they will be after him all day long. The Cowboys’ offensive has played 3 teams who have pretty good pass rushers this year and this may be the best. I think the big play will be there if Romo has enough time to throw it, but the run game will struggle for the second week in a row. The Bears’ offense also has the potential to be very good or very bad under Jay Cutler. It will be interesting to see how the thin secondary of the Cowboys holds up this week and see if all-pro cornerback Brandon Carr can continue to play well at the safety position. The Cowboys defense is ranked 1st in the league allowing just 250 yards per game. If they hold the Bears to around that average this week, they will win, albeit not by much. Dallas Cowboys 20 – 17 Chicago Bears It will come down to defense and how well the Cowboys’ offensive line will protect Tony Romo on Monday night. If they can’t, it may not be a good game for Cowboys fans. Cowboys’ haters will be out in full force just waiting for this team to collapse in the spotlight of Monday Night Football, so let’s see if the ‘Boys are who we thought they were.
This game feels like it will closely mirror the Tampa Bay game: two very good defenses, good running backs, high risk-reward quarterbacks and awful offensive lines. The difference in this game from last week’s is that the Bears’ defense is better than Tampa’s, though based on what I saw last week that gap is closing fast (be afraid of the Buccaneers the next few years). The Bears have an advantage on special teams with Hester, but Dez Bryant has shown that he is no slouch on punt returns himself (he returned a punt for a TD against the Bears in 2010). I also give them the edge at running back as their 1-2 punch of Matt Forte and Michael Bush is far superior to DeMarco Murray and Felix “I dropped my doughnut” Jones.
The defenses are about even taken as a whole; the Bears have the better front 7 and the Cowboys have the better secondary, even without Barry Church. Both kickers are about as automatic as it gets as neither has missed an extra point or field goal yet this season. So, as often happens in the NFL, the winner in this game will be decided by whichever QB plays better. Both Cutler and
Sept 13, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE
Romo are likely to be on the run (or on their backs) for large portions of this game. The last time these two teams played, Cutler was 21-29 for 277 yards and 3 TDs, but that was also against a far inferior secondary. I see at least 2 interceptions from him in this game, so as long as Romo is still standing at the end of the game (and I have my doubts), it will be Dallas Cowboys 15 – 13 Chicago Bears.
Cowboys fans will watch with a little less anxiety as DeMarco Murray gets off to a fast start with a TD and 100 yards rushing by halftime. The Cowboys defense will dare Cutler to throw into tight coverage and he will gladly oblige to the tune of 2 INTs (Carr and Jenkins). Jason Garrett will use the balanced attack to keep the Bears defense off balance enroute to a Cowboys victory. Dallas Cowboys 27 – 10 Chicago Bears
This week I traveled to a monastery in Tibet and spoke with the eldest monk. He explained that the Dallas Cowboys would emerge victorious from their battle against the Bears from the North. He, like the other wise men I’ve visited, explained that the Dallas Cowboys will win the Super Bowl and the world will be forever changed. To read about that amazing future, read here.