By Shawn Lealos
The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles are heading into a giant game with the NFC East on the line, and with Dallas currently holding the tiebreaker, every win from here out is important. Next up for Dallas is the Chicago Bears, a team that has a chance of its own to catch up to the Detroit Lions and capture the NFC North title. Here is a look at the Dallas Cowboys Week 14 opposition, the Chicago Bears.
The Bears come into the game still wondering when their starting quarterback Jay Cutler will return. While backup Josh McCown has been playing well, he has not been playing well enough to win as the Bears have dropped three of their last four games, including a loss to the Lions, costing them the tiebreaker and meaning they have to win the division outright. To do that, they really need to get Cutler back.
Cutler said that he wants to return for the big Monday Night Football game, but he has not been cleared by doctors to return yet from his high ankle sprain. If he doesn’t return, the team will once again rely on Josh McCown, who has thrown for 1,461 yards with nine touchdowns and only one interception this season. He has been solid, with 300 yard passing games in the past two contests, but the Bears losing both.
McCown’s favorite target has been Alshon Jeffery, who has become the go-to receiver on this Bears offense. Jeffrey finished his game last week with an eye-popping 12 receptions for 249 yards and two touchdowns, the best game of his career. What is scary is that the other Bears receiver is Brandon Marshall, still one of the most dangerous weapons in the NFL. This could be a very long day for the Dallas secondary.
When they are not throwing the ball, Chicago still has Matt Forte in the backfield. Forte is only 29 yards short of fourth 1,000 yard rushing season and has added 58 receptions for 445 yards as well. This is an offense that will give Dallas fits.
However, much like Dallas, the Bears need to win in shootouts because their defense is nowhere up to the level of past Chicago units. They rank 14th in the NFL against the pass and dead last against the run. While Dallas lost Lance Dunbar for the season last week, they still have starting running back DeMarco Murray, who is averaging an impressive 4.9 yards per carry this season.
The Bears have an opportunistic defense, with 15 interceptions on the season, but with Tony Romo having a fantastic year when it comes to his accuracy, this is a game that might result in the highest scoring team winning. With the St. Louis Rams scoring 43 against them and the Minnesota Vikings upsetting them last week in overtime, this is a game that Chicago will need to play its best defense to win.
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Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos. Examiner.com.