The Cowboys get set to play the Chicago Bears on the big stage for Monday Night Football at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. No matter what changes for the Bears, they remain true to who they are. They are a hard-nosed football team that loves to play physical and prides themselves on Defense. Having Matt Forte and Jay Cutler have made their Offense formidable and the addition of Brandon Marshall has already paid dividends. Bears fans are ecstatic because they see the girl they fell in love with wearing a new dress. The tackles are not piling up for them just yet, but that has not been a huge problem. The problem that they have been having is making sure Jay Cutler has enough time to deliver the ball to new targets Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, big receivers who love to go up and get the ball. Last year the Bears allowed 49 sacks. In three games this year, they have already allowed 11. That much pressure on a quarterback have, and has had an effect on your quarterback. Having Michael Bush and Matt Forte not at 100% does not help. The running game can help out the passing game so much.
On Defense, they have accumulated a whopping 14 sacks this year. Moving Julius Peppers to defensive tackles and limiting his plays have worked wonders for their pressure game. Julius Peppers is one of those freak of an athletes that not every NFL team have. He is strong enough to play Defensive Tackle on passing downs, but is a mismatch for the opposing line because he is so fast and quick. It only makes sense. When you have Linebackers like Lance Briggs and the Monster of the Midway, Brian Urlacher. Even when he is not at full health he has still been going out t there and giving it all he has. He is third on the team in tackles. (Lance Briggs and Major Wright)
This Defense really stepped up against the Rams. They did a fantastic job of stuffing the run and not allowing Bradford to find the open man. Bradford completed 51% of his passes for 152 yards. Stephen Jackson only rushed for 29 yards. Not only that, they sacked Bradford six times. In the Fourth quarter, when the game was still manageable, they intercepted Bradford twice (Wright had a pick six) and they forced two punts to seal the game. When you can shut down an entire offense and force turnovers you should win the game easily.
Unlike the Dallas Cowboys, the Bears get pressure from both ends of the field from more than one player. Henry Melton, Israel Idonije, Julius Peppers, and Shea McClellin all have recorded at least two sacks this year. Out of the seven sacks that the Cowboys have, four have come from D. Ware. The Cowboys line has had to go up against Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and the Giants, Chris Clemons and the Seahawks, Gerald McCoy and the Buccs, and now Peppers Posse. What a huge test for the Dallas Line. They get to come out to the field and try to can get the job done.
But just like the Cowboys, the Bears need to find a way to protect their quarterback better. Your passing game will never have success if you do not give him adequate time to throw the ball. Cutler shares some of the blame as well. He needs to do a better job of getting the ball out of his hands. Mike Tice helped him out last game by moving him around and allowing him to make plays outside of the pocket. This seemed to have better success, but every QB needs to be able to climb that pocket and make that throw when they have to. The Rams front four did not give them any problems, but the secondary played well. Once again Cutler will be going up against a Rookie. This time it will be Morris Claiborne. He has been playing well this year, but we will see if the Bears wide receivers will give him problems. And you can not forget about Devin Hester. The X-Factor for the Bears can score at any position on the field and is still a dangerous Kick returner. He has been averaging 27.3 yards a return this year. Cutler will have to face the Dallas 3-4 Defense. One that is leading the league in yards per game and is second in passing yards. ( 137 yards a game- Cutler has averaged 214 yards a game) A little different from the one he played against in Green Bay where he only threw for 126 yards for a 40% completion rate and 4 INTs, but one that presents different challenges. If the Bears are going to have a shot at winning this game, they are going to have to run the ball better (Bush rushed for 55 yards on 18 carries), complete passes down the field (54% passing with a passer rating of 58.9), and hope that the Dallas Cowboys continue to shoot themselves in the foot.
These teams look a lot alike, and the team that is able to put the most complete game together will win. Who will step out of their Offensive funk and actually put some points on the board and get the ball into the end-zone? Which Defense will hold true come Monday Night? Which Quarterback will be the last one standing? It is going to be a good game. Monday Night can not get here fast enough.