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Thursday Night Football Preview: Dallas Cowboys @ Chicago Bears

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Thursday Night Football Preview: Dallas Cowboys @ Chicago Bears

2019-12-05 12:11:59

 

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. (Image Source: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

Here’s a look at the matchup between the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys:

Series: Cowboys lead 13-11; Streak: Cowboys have won the past two; Last Meeting: Cowboys 31, Bears 17 (09.25.16)

Time: 8:20 PM ET; TV: NFL Network/Amazon Prime (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews)

Where They Stand:

Both teams come into Week 14 with identical 6-6 records. The Dallas Cowboys have dropped their past two games but their record is still good enough to lead the NFC East, while they sit at third in the conference with a plus 74-point differential. While the Cowboys are coming off a Thanksgiving Day loss, the Chicago Bears won on Turkey Day, their second-straight victory to pull up to .500. However, unlike Dallas, Chicago is on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. They’re third in the NFC North and two games in back of the second wild card, so this is a must win game for the Bears.

When the Cowboys Have the Ball:

Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott is having a heck of season. He’s coming off a 355-yard game, his fifth of 2019 with at least 350 passing yards to lead the NFL. Prescott is averaging 334.2 yards per game with 23 scoring strikes and is on pace to go over 4,000 yards on Thursday night. With 971 yards, Amari Cooper is on the cusp of reaching the 1,000-yard plateau, while Michael Gallup looks to go over 50 yards on the road for the fourth-straight time. Veteran Randall Cobb has become a bigger part of the offense of late, as he’s posted 360 receiving yards in the past four. If they want to play to their full potential getting Ezekiel Elliott going would be wise. He’s gone over 125 scrimmage yards in the past two games, but hasn’t rushed for 100 yards in over a month.

Chicago’s leading tackler is linebacker Roquan Smith who has 98 on the season, including a career-high 15 last week. It was his first career multiple-sack game and he’s made double-digit stops in four of his past five. Edger rusher Khalil Mack remains their best pass rusher but he isn’t having as impactful of a season in 2019 with just 6.5 sacks through 12 games. Behind their strong linebacking corps is a solid secondary led by cornerback Kyle Fuller, who has defended a pass in five of the past six games. Fuller has 62 stops to lead the secondary, just ahead of safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (60), while the normally ball-hawking Eddie Jackson had his first interception of the season last week.

When the Bears Have the Ball:

Third-year man Mitchell Trubisky, who has thrown a TD pass in three of his past four home starts, is coming off arguably his best game of the season. In Chicago’s Thanksgiving Day win, Trubisky threw for 338 yards and three scores for a rating of 118.1. Allen Robinson had eight receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown, his second-straight game with at least 85 receiving yards and a TD, while Anthony Miller posted his second career 100-yard game with career bests in catches (9) and receiving yards (140). He’s had six-plus receptions in three straight, while Javon Wims also set career highs with five catches for 56 yards last week. Running back Tarik Cohen has caught at least four balls in the past four, while rookie David Montgomery had his first career TD catch last week.

Dallas has playmakers on every level of their defense. End Robert Quinn leads the pass rush with his 9.5 sacks, including at least one in his past two road games. He’s bookended by DeMarcus Lawrence, whose 12.5 tackles for loss pace the team. Their leading tackler is Jaylon Smith (112 tackles), including a career-high 14 stops last week. As good as Smith is, Leighton Vander Esch is missed on the second level. Safety Xavier Woods (61 tackles, 2 INTs, 2 FFs) is also out, which puts an extra onus on their cornerbacks. Chidobe Awuzie (60 tackles, 10 PDs) is among their most active defensive backs, while Jourdan Lewis is coming off his first two-sack game.

Score: Cowboys 23, Bears 17

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe, Maxwell, Bednarik, and the Rotary Lombardi Awards, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: danmogollon@gmail.com.                        

 
 

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