Tomorrow night will mark almost eleven full days since the Dallas Cowboys last played a game and really not much has changed. The NFC East is still a two team race and only the winner will likely make a playoff appearance. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, Philadelphia won last week keeping the heat squarely on them to keep pace. This week, both NFC East teams face teams from the NFC Central fighting for a playoff spot themselves. The Eagles get a home game against the division leading Detroit Lions while the Cowboys face the Bears in Chicago on Monday Night Football.
The Bears pose a major threat to the Cowboys in that they have one of the most prolific wide receiver duos in all of football in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. The two have combined for over 2,000 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns which is scary, when you think about the fact that Dallas has the second worst pass defense in the NFL. Chicago also has a dual threat in running back Matt Forte to keep the Cowboys on their toes. Thankfully, the defense is getting their leader, Sean Lee back in time for this pivotal game which we will break down the keys to victory to in this week’s edition of The Four Quarters.
Braving the elements…
Temperature at game time is scheduled to be in the low teens with snow accumulating the day before and possibly during the game as well. This will be the coldest game the Cowboys have played in since December of 1992 when the Cowboys travelled to Denver and beat the Broncos. Needless to say, Dallas does not have a history of playing in too many games where extreme elements come in to play. The Bears, on the other hand, usually play in at least one game like this every year which makes this a definite home field advantage for them. For Dallas to be successful Monday night, they need to show the mental toughness they exhibited in New York a few weeks ago and display some mind over matter. The weather cannot be an excuse for sloppy play or a lack of focus or else the Cowboys will find themselves chasing the Eagles for the lead instead of maintaining their lead.
The Marshall Plan…
Alshon Jeffery may be leading the team in yards but make no mistake, Brandon Marshall is still this team’s number one wide receiver. Looking back on his career, he has been dominant versus the Cowboys. In three games, he has never failed to see the end zone, collecting 16 catches for 332 yards and 3 touchdowns while being on the winning end of things twice. Since Morris Claiborne will be missing this game for Dallas, the Cowboys will likely see a lot of one-on-one match ups with Marshall facing Brandon Carr. Carr must have his best game of the year in order for Dallas to have a chance at slowing down this extraordinary Bears passing attack. On the other side, Alshon Jeffery has not one, but two 200-yard games this season. Orlando Scandrick will have his hands full with the task of slowing down Jeffery who is making things easier for Marshall with his stellar play this season.