Living in a divided NFL household (yes, no rx my boyfriend is a stupid Dallas fan), purchase I openly admit to having a lot of pride, hospital bragging rights and a vested interest riding on this upcoming Bears/Cowboys game… Especially since he and I will spend this Monday Night Football matchup together at Soldier Field, freezing our butts off to watch a Bear victory.
(FYI: My boyfriend will never cheer for the Bears and therefore I will have nobody sitting next to me to help celebrate great plays; I usually end up high-fiving his head after every TD… so please help me out/don’t let me down, Machine Marshall.)
However, my pride is already struggling as the 6-6 Bears have hit a slump and have lost six of nine games since their 3-0 start. They are currently one game back with the Detroit Lions holding the first place position in the NFC North.
Dallas on the other hand, has won five of their last seven games and remains neck-and-neck with the Philadelphia Eagles for first place in their division.
OK, so obviously there’s a lot more than my pride that’s on the line here for Chicago (and Dallas) football. Here’s some other “minor” details regarding this MNF match-up:
What You Need to Know:
- On Thanksgiving Day, Dallas (7-5) stormed back to beat Oakland 31-24, while the Bears (6-6) had a bizarre OT loss to Minnesota 23-20 the following Sunday.
- Both teams are struggling on defense which could make this a high-scoring game. With Lance Briggs, Peanut Tillman and Henry Melton all still out, the Bears will still struggle against the run and will need to do a better job putting pressure on Romo and containing his impressive receiving core.
- This is a must-win for the Bears. With only four games remaining, the Bears are technically still in the hunt for the NFC North, however, in order to keep their playoff hopes alive, they need to win every remaining game and need Detroit to stumble down the stretch.
- When it comes to the Bears-Cowboys previous match-up… Note that the Bears beat the Cowboys 34-18 in Dallas last October. Cutler threw for 275 yards and two TDs while Romo was picked off a career high-tying five times.
Who and What to Watch For:
Tony Romo has generally struggled in December, with 13 wins and 17 losses since he took over as QB in 2006. While I like to tease my boyfriend relentlessly about Romo’s inconsistencies as a QB, the passing offense is one of the biggest strengths of the Cowboys this season. Romo’s actually completed 285 passes for over 3,140 yards with 24 TDs and only 7 INT this year. Not bad Romo, not bad.
Dez Bryant might be a little bit of a headcase, but it is just cause he’s so dang passionate about winning! He and Romo definitely have a bit of a bromance going on as the wide receiver has lit up the field this season. Expect the Bears defense to have 2 men on him at ALL TIMES Monday night. Unfortunately for the Bears – Romo has awesome targets with both WR Miles Austin and TE Jason Witten if Bryant is covered.
DeMarco Murray is coming off of a career-high three touchdowns Dallas’ win vs. Oakland and with the Bears defense allowing so many yards these days, expect Dallas to attempt RB Murray’s run game too when Bryant is covered.
Jay Cutler has missed games due to injury all season but we have actually played very well on offense without him. As of today, Cutler has been ruled out to play on Monday night due to his ankle injury. With McCown leading the offense they are averaging 26.9 points and 381.4 total yards per game, not bad and definitely capable of beating the Cowboys.
Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are the tag-team, dynamic duo, powerhouse of
wide receivers that just cannot be stopped. Between the two of them they’ve totaled over 2,099 yards and 14 TDs this season. Remember, Jeffery had a career game last week against Minnesota with 12 catches for a franchise record 249 yards and two huge TDs. Jeffery also broke his own single-game team record for receiving yards. If Dallas’ defense is smart – they’ll be looking to shut down our WR at every opportunity.
We’d love to see more of TE Martellus Bennett on Monday night against his former teammates. The Black Unicorn has been relatively quiet lately due to non-threatening injuries that have not made him a regular target of McCown’s.
Your Take Away Piece:
“The major red flag for both teams this season thus far rests in their defenses. What a difference a season can make…this year the Bears rank in the bottom five of the league for scoring defense and total yards allowed and that is just NOT GOOD (but the Cowboys isn’t much better).”
With both the NFC East and NFC North divisions respectively still up for grabs, the Boys and the Bears each have enough motivation to clinch a most desperately needed victory on MNF. My guess is whoever has the better defensive play during this match-up will determine the winner.
So please don’t let me down Bears, I know the fans in our section will want to see me high-five my boyfriend in the head multiple times. And on top of that, I’d like to spend the following 364 days reminding him who “America’s team” should REALLY be.”
Kick-off is at 7:30 p.m. CT Monday night a Soldier Field and on ESPN.