ON TRACK OFFENSE
Who knows what the Soldier Field tundra will be like after being re-sodded recently from the quagmire in their last road game. But they were shut out the equivalent of the final two quarters indoors last week after going ahead 20-10 midway through the 3rd, then falling in overtime. If the offensive line is tired of hearing about being pushed around in short-yardage situations, they should get Matt Forte his 29 yards for 1,000 on the season, and how about hundred or so more against a Dallas D allowing 127 per game? Then, with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery facing a pass defense (with its best DB, Morris Claiborne, injured), Josh McCown needs to find them – not necessarily deep in the wind, but on some quick pops, and yards after the catch. Martellus Bennett tweeted this morning about the honor of playing the same position, for the same franchise Mike Ditka played. Da Coach also played for the Cowboys. So did Bennett before they let him go after four years.
[MOON: Bears vs. Cowboys Prediction]
THE TURNOVER BATTLE
The Cowboys may be giving up more yards per game than any team in the NFL heading into the weekend as they converted to a 4-3. But they also ranked second in the league in turnover ratio (+12), so Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli have them getting after the football, without Lovie Smith. McCown’s thrown just one interception in 184 attempts thus far. And the Bears have just one takeaway their last two games, and NO fumble recoveries since Week 4. Tony Romo was intercepted five times in the Bears’ Monday Night win a year ago. But that was a much different Bears defense.
JONATHAN & JASON
Check downs. Play action. It’s where Jason Witten’s made his living as the Cowboys’ all-time receptions leader and second on the all-time receptions list among tight ends. He had 13 catches in the loss last October to the Bears. I’m not holding my breath that the Bears’ run defense will necessarily figure things out this week against DeMarco Murray. It’d be nice. And a lot of attention will be paid, of course, to Dez Bryant. But Jonathan Bostic’s patience, reads, and coverage over the middle against one of the best at his position will decide how much, and how quickly, the Cowboys can eat up real estate.
Remember to tune in to Comcast SportsNet before watching the game for “Bears Pregame Live” from Soldier Field, 6:30-7:30. Then switch back over immediately afterwards, when we’ll have 90 minutes of analysis with Jim Miller & Dan Jiggetts, Marc Trestman’s and Josh McCown’s postgame press conference, and plenty of other locker room reactionon “Bears Postgame Live, Presented by Nissan,” as soon as the game goes final