The Dallas Cowboys enter Monday night’s match-up against the Chicago Bears #1 in yards allowed at 250 per game and 7th in points allowed but it’s looking more and more like Anthony Spencer will not play tonight due to a pectoral injury. Victor Butler will start in Spencer’s absence but how Butler holds up against the run is what most will be watching especially if Matt Forte returns to the line-up. In the last outing versus the Bears Jay Cutler threw 3 TD’s leaving the game with a 136.7 QB rating, granted that was against a Dallas secondary that was one of the worst in the league. The Cowboys have totaled only 23 points over the past two weeks after scoring 24 points on September 5th against the New York Giants.
Both offensive lines have issues the play of Cowboys right tackle Doug Free seems to become more and more dismal every week. The Chicago Bears defense leads the league in sacks with 14 and is tied for 2nd in the NFL with 6 interceptions. Tony Romo has thrown an interception in each game this season. The Cowboys have surrendered 7 sacks, tying them for 6th in the league so fans can expect at the very least for the Bears to sack Tony Romo three times, keeping the Cowboys QB under duress for most of the evening forcing his hand into committing a minimum of one interception. The Chicago Bears are holding opposing QB’s to an abysmal 62.1% QB rating and 6th year cornerback Tim Jennings has a league leading 4 interceptions and a 4.9% QB rating in his favor when QB’s throw his direction. Jennings will likely be matched up against Dez Bryant most of the evening. For you fantasy fanatics look for Dez Bryant to have another disappointing fantasy output. Amazingly enough Tony Romo has thrown two of his four TD’s while being under pressure 35% of the time the Dallas QB drops back in an attempt to pass the ball. We would expect that Miles Austin to have the best game of all the Cowboys wide outs simply based on the fact that Austin plays out of the slot more times than not forcing both Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman to man-up the outside receivers.
The Cowboys are entering into the game against the Bears with the second most penalties in the league with 10.3 penalties per game. Doug Free, Tyron Smith and Jason Witten all lead their respective positions in penalties with the majority of those infractions being false starts. Not only is Jason Witten leading all NFL tight ends in penalties but he also leads the league with five drops. It’d be nice to see Witten begin to find composure and consistency both along the offensive line and out in pass routes.
The Cowboys secondary has held receivers such as Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Vincent Jackson in check for the most part over the past three weeks but have a history of allowing Brandon Marshall to play big. In two games against the Dallas Cowboys the former Denver Bronco, former Miami Dolphin an now the Chicago Bear has averaged almost one hundred yards in each of his two games versus the Boys. The Brandon versus Brandon match-up will be an interesting one. Will Chicago’s Brandon maintain his 4.5 reception average in games against Dallas, will Marshall turn those receptions into 90+ yards receiving as he has done in the past against the Cowboys secondary, or will Brandon Carr hold the Chicago wide receiver at bay in the prime time spotlight?
One key to the game will be the composure of Jay Cutler. If the Cowboys can rattle him early and have Jay once again passing the blame onto his offensive line then it’s a win for the Cowboys but the Cowboys are facing another tough defense for the third week in a row and I have a feeling that it’s going to take its toll on the Cowboys offense. The Bears are 6-0 versus Dallas when Chicago scores 22 points or more. Matt Forte expects to play Monday but he could be a bit rusty and stands a chance of aggravating a recent high ankle sprain but if he looks like his old self then its Chicago – 17, Dallas – 16.
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