Arlington, Texas is hosting a unique football game Sunday afternoon, as the Chicago Bears travel to meet the Dallas Cowboys in a telling matchup. The Bears are coming off an incredible 33-14 victory over the Patriots in Foxborough, while the Cowboys return to action at home following a cool 24-6 victory over the Detroit Lions. However, questions abound. Can the Bears replicate their most recent performance? How will Cowboys franchise quarterback Dak Prescott fare in only his third game this season?
The Bears stunned the NFL world on Monday, dismantling the Patriots on national television. The were absolutely firing on all cylinders, with everybody doing their part. Quarterback Justin Fields went 13/21 for 179 yards and one touchdown and one interception, but made up for that interception by rushing for 85 yards and a touchdown. This, coupled with running backs David Montgomery (who scored a rushing touchdown too) and Khalil Herbert (who caught a touchdown) rushing for 62 yards apiece, presented a well rounded offensive effort. On the other side of the ball, the Bears defense was electric, forcing four turnovers, three of which were interceptions by three different players. On special teams, the Bears only had to punt twice, and kicker Cairo Santos put 15 points off of four field goals and three extra points. It was a good day to be a Bear.
So, what do they need to do on Sunday? The exact same thing. The Bears are a young, growing team with a whole new coaching staff. Every week they have been getting better and better, but not quite where they need to be. Last week was the first time they finally looked complete. The real challenge will be to replicate that success, especially in such a short time frame. With the Bears playing Monday night, there has only been a six day gap in between games, which also means they’ve had to travel from New England all the way to Texas rather quickly. On top of that, the Bears will potentially be missing three starters on the offensive line, with two being guaranteed out (Lucas Patrick and Cody Whitehair). The other, Larry Borom, is questionable to play.
How consequential is this? The Cowboys have a team that currently has the most sacks (29) and highest pressure rate in the NFL. Alongside this, they are one of the top teams in generating turnovers, with opposing teams turning the ball over on 15.4% of drives. In that regard, the Bears are going to have to play carefully. Fields has struggled with keeping the ball safe, and the offensive line has struggled to keep Fields safe. This could be a dangerous outing for Chicago, but still, they seem to have figured their playing style out. The game is not over until it’s over.
The Cowboys offense is expected to perform fine, as long as they don’t fall prey to Chicago’s ever improving secondary. However, star running back Ezekiel Elliot is questionable, and this is only Dak Prescott’s third game starting this season. Sidelined due to injury at the beginning of the year, he had a decent game last week versus the Lions. However, the Lions happen to have one of the worst defenses in the league, so the Bears may be able to capitalize on Prescott needing to get back into a rhythm.
Things for the Bears look… grim. Despite a great performance last week, the injuries to their offensive line and lack of consistency add to doubt to how they will perform on Sunday. Nevertheless, they and the fans are fired up now, and hungry for more wins. So today, let’s side with the underdog – everybody loves a good surprise.
27 – 23 Chicago Bears