By Zach Walker
Who do the Cowboys need to shut down?
RB Matt Forte – I’d say either Brandon Marshall or Alshon Jeffery, but that would be beyond wishful thinking. Forte is another air and ground threat, like LeSean McCoy, but if it helps, think of him more like DeMarco Murray, if the offense would revolve around Forte, the Bears can be extremely dangerous. But, I suppose that’s said in theory, because in games this season where Forte has had 100 yards either rushing or receiving, the Bears are 1-3, but when he’s at about 80 yards rushing and over 50 yards receiving, the Bears are 3-1. So balance is the key. Where have I heard that…?
Who on the Cowboys, needs to step up?
QB Tony Romo – It’s an empty net to go after all of the rendered nearly useless weapons on the team, but I’ll say that the man himself needs to get back on track with a strong performance against the Bears. Romo was asked, as well as Jason Garrett, after the Eagles game, if the extremely short rest had any factor with his back. He said no, but of course, he would, but he was clearly off. A normal week’s preparation should have Tony Romo back to his normal performance, and able to put the Eagles game passed him. The Bears secondary, the entire defense, is a lot like the Cowboys, if the offense is working, the defense can stay floating. The Bears first round pick, Kyle Fuller is not bad, and has three picks on the season, but against Dez Bryant, with a full rest Romo, that could get to be a bit much.
Which group will give the Cowboys fits?
The Bears pass catchers – Jay Cutler has been underwhelming this season, not terrible, and is more than capable of flipping a switch and get back to being very dangerous. The Bears go four deep with receiving options, I mentioned Matt Forte, then there’s the tight end Martellus Bennett, and the two receivers Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall. Personally, I find Marshall to be very over-rated, but Jeffery is unbelievably under-rated. Jeffery had a highlight reel catch on the Cowboys last year, and is likely to follow it up again on Thursday. Martellus Bennett has really stuck with the Bears, and really picked up for Jay Cutler, where Greg Olsen left off after being traded away. The Bears options really stop after these four, with the drop off from 58 catches out of Marshall, to only 12 from second string tight end Dante Rosario, so at least the Cowboys have to only concentrate on those four targets.
Which group will give the Bears fits?
The Cowboys offensive rhythm – Total opt-out move, super wuss, I know, but really, think about it. If the offense isn’t clicking, the defense is on the field much more, thus wearing them out, and giving up points. Then the offense is in the, “Why us? Catch-up mode,” and now must force plays, and likely making mistakes. But, if the Cowboys take the ball, and really run the cleats off of DeMarco Murray, like they should have done the last time the Cowboys played the Bears, control the game from the inside out, and force the Bears to need to make something out of something, they’ve got a real shot at the game and getting back on track and relaxed going forward through December. Besides, what group really scares anybody from the Cowboys right now, after the Eagles ripped through the O-line like there was nothing to it. The entire offense must rise from the ashes, and re-establish themselves.
What will it take for the Cowboys to win?
Belief in their own road success. The Cowboys are the only undefeated team on the road this season, and they have three road games left. The full week will help everyone with their bumps and scrapes, and they really need to concentrate on this game, and take these final four, one cliche at a time. One game at a time.
Prediction: Dallas 27 – Chicago 23. Being completely transparent, I don’t care how the Cowboys get this win, I only wish that Travis Frederick or Ron Leary or Zack Martin take “Jeremiah” Ratliff and destroy him.