Another exciting week of NFL football comes to a conclusion Monday Night as two of the game’s most intriguing teams do battle in Cowboys Stadium as the Bears pay a visit to Dallas.
The Cowboys enter this contest still looking to replicate the form they showed in their season-opener against the Giants. They’re coming off a big win last week against Tampa Bay, although the team looked far from its best in a tight contest. Against a Chicago side with the potential for explosiveness, Dallas must start adding some consistency to its game. Perhaps a dysfunctional Bears side will cure what ails this Cowboys squad.
Meanwhile, Chicago has jumped out to a 2-1 record so far this campaign, though it hasn’t been without controversy. Whether it’s their erratic play, injuries, or infighting, the Bears seem like a dysfunctional bunch from afar. That said, like their Monday Night opponents, when they play to their maximum ability they possess the potential to beat any team in the league. Chicago is coming off an average outing in Week 3 against St. Louis, and Jay Cutler will have to be much better against Dallas If they are to stay atop the NFC North. On the injury front, the Bears will get some relief Monday night as key running back Matt Forte is slated to return. Forte should really boost a struggling Bears attack and will need to come up big if the Bears are to leave Big D with a big win Monday evening.
Bears at Cowboys Spread & Betting Odds:
Chicago Bears +3 (+100)
@ Dallas Cowboys -3 (-120)
Over 41.5 (-110)
Under 41.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Bears at Cowboys Pick:
Though backing either one of these teams may seem like an iffy proposition given their history of inconsistent play, the Bears seem in far worse shape than the Cowboys at the moment. Much of Jay Cutler’s struggles this season have come as a result of shoddy play from his constantly over-matched offensive line. We’ve all seen his public meltdowns and outbursts toward his linemen and don’t be surprised to see some more whining from Cutler Monday evening. The Bears offensive line cannot block whatsoever and will struggle mightily against a vicious Cowboys defensive line led by DeMarcus Ware. Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan likely has a plethora of blitz packages at the ready to throw off Cutler and not allow him time in the pocket.
Not only will Dallas get to Cutler at will, but when there is time to throw, look for the Cowboys secondary to continue their stellar 2012 season. The duo of Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne have been massive acquisitions for Dallas and looked brilliant last week in shutting down Vincent Jackson. If the ‘Boys can duplicate that performance on Brandon Marshall, it will severely limit Cutler’s options from the pocket and force him into those huge blunders he’s prone to making.
Offensive movement has also been an issue for the Cowboys of late. Since their outburst against the G-Men in Week 1, they’ve been stymied by both the Seahawks and Bucs in subsequent weeks. Tony Romo has struggled, as has enigmatic wide-out Dez Bryant. Both are aware of their struggles and know more is needed out of them if they’re to knock off a tough Bears squad Monday night. It won’t be easy however for Bryant as he’ll likely be matched up against tough Bears corner, Charles Tillman. Look for Romo to rely heavily on Miles Austin in the passing game. Austin has quietly produced in three games thus far, and should really get the best of Chicago’s D.J. Moore. Like Dallas, Chicago too is experiencing great success on defense as the Bears led the league in sacks entering Week 4, and give up very little through the air or on the ground.
Ball movement will be hard to come by for both sides, but ultimately expect the difference to be the Cowboys being at home, and Romo out-playing Cutler. Cutler is a talented quarterback, but still has great difficulty performing when the lights shine brightest. Throughout his career, Jay Cutler has a quarterback rating of just 71 in primetime games. Expect more of the same Monday night, as the Cowboys win a tightly-contested, low-scoring affair. Look for the Cowboys to get to Cutler, force him into poor decisions, and capitalize on key turnovers. Add in the fact that the Bears’ backfield still has injury concerns despite the return of Forte, and Dallas seems like smart money under the Monday night lights.
Lastly, for all you teaser players out there, this game seems like an ideal spot to tease the Cowboys to +4 and tease the total up to the 48.5 point range. Despite the weapons both teams possess, both Chicago and Dallas are playing ridiculous on defense at the moment. Points should be hard to come by Monday night, making this play seem like a good fit.
PICK = Cowboys -3 (-120)