Week 4: Chicago Bears At Dallas Cowboys
- QuarterbackJay Cutler has yet to assert himself this year with his new, high-powered offense. The Bears still expect to light up the scoreboard from time to time, but Cutler has been inconsistent with his passing and his sulking demeanor gets most of the headlines. Despite the poor start, Cutler is capable of lighting it up at any time.Tony Romo has been an up-and-down performer throughout his run with the Cowboys. While there’s no doubt that he throws one of the most catchable, feathery soft passes in the NFL, big moments seem to overwhelm him. He came through in Week One against the Giants, and playing on Monday Night football is another big opportunity.
- OffenseAn ankle injury kept Matt Forte from playing against St. Louis in Week Three and he may not be able to compete here. Backup running back Michael Bush is an excellent inside runner but he is not as versatile as Forte. Brandon Marshall has not lived up to the hype in the early going and the pressure will mount until he starts to dominate games. Alshon Jeffery has the size and hands to make big plays.The running game stalled out against the Bucs and that’s not a good sign with the Bears coming to town. DeMarco Murray should be solid but the offensive line didn’t do much for him. Wideout Miles Austin should be able to make plays if Romo has the time to find him.
- DefenseThe Bears were worried about middle linebacker Brian Urlacher’s knee early in the season, but he has held up nicely through the first three games. Defensive end Julius Peppers requires an extra blocker or he could make life miserable for Romo. Linebacker Lance Briggs is the Bears’ best tackler and cornerback Charles Tillman excels at stripping the ball from receivers.The Cowboys would like to assert themselves with another strong defensive effort. They have the best all-around defensive player in the game in LB DeMarcus Ware, who will try to hunt down Cutler. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is sure to cook up blitzes and schemes designed to expose the Bears’ weak offensive line.
- Special TeamsThe Bears have one of the most consistent placekickers in Robbie Gould. He almost never misses on kicks of 40 yards or less. The Bears may need to make things happen on special teams, so don’t be shocked to see Devin Hester go back to his familiar punt return role.The Cowboys think that Dan Bailey is a good enough placekicker to help them win games. He did just that in Week Three when he made 3-of-3 FG attempts in the 16-10 win over the Bucs. Punter Chris Jones is averaging 48.1 yards per punt this season.
The Bears have beaten two ordinary teams in Indianapolis and St. Louis, but they got smoked on the road by the Green Bay Packers. The Cowboys represent a major test. This game will come down to quarterback execution and special teams play since both teams have excellent defenses. A late field goal could decide this game.