NFL 2019 (Week 14): Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears

Russell S. Baxter

NFL 2019 (Week 14): Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears

By Jesse Pierson

Special to Pro Football Guru

The Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears entered this season with heightened championship aspirations, and why wouldn’t they? Both teams won their division last season and returned the bulk of their rosters. From that perspective, the teams’ identical 6-6 records are more than a little disappointing. With four games left to play, though, a respectable 10-6 record is within reach, as is the likely playoff berth that would accompany such a finish. The similarities start to divert at that point, as Dallas’ 6-6 record finds them in first place in the NFC East, whereas Chicago’s 6-6 mark has them at third place in the NFC North and out of the current playoff standings. The Cowboys have famously not defeated a team with a winning record at the time of their matchup, and their two-game losing streak has some fans clamoring for Jason Garrett’s job. The Bears are riding a two-game win streak, although they have only one victory over a winning team as well: They beat 2-1 Minnesota way back in Week 4 before dropping four straight. Dallas, Green Bay, Kansas City, and Minnesota stand in Chicago’s way to close the season, and Mitchell Trubisky needs to come alive in this stretch to salvage his future as the team’s franchise quarterback. Would another NFC East title be enough to save Garrett, who is in the last year of his contract? Obviously, there is a lot riding on this Thursday night tilt.

Cowboys: While there is no lack of star power on this Dallas roster, health is a serious question mark and could doom the once-promising season. Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and Amari Cooper are all healthy, which is a huge plus. Unfortunately, Randall Cobb, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, La’el Collins and Tony Pollard carry the questionable label. Defensively, Leighton Vander Esch will miss another game--his fourth of the season--due to a lingering neck injury. He may be joined on the sideline by Antwaun Woods, Sean Lee and Jeff Heath, who are all questionable. Of these players, only Pollard is not a starter on offense or defense, though he is listed as the team’s primary kickoff returner. Key performances by depth players and stars fighting through pain are a large part of December football, so the Cowboys must hope for good health and good fortune to bring home a much-needed road win.

Bears: Chicago’s injury report is quite a bit cleaner, but their primary concern is Trubisky’s unsteady play. While quarterbacks will seemingly always receive both too much praise and too much criticism, the truth is that most of the Bears’ offense has underperformed this year. Outside of Allen Robinson, whose 71 catches, 850 yards, five touchdowns, and 44 first downs lead the team by a wide margin, no one on offense has put up noteworthy statistics. As has been the case in Chicago for what seems like an eternity, defense must carry the team while the offense does just enough to not lose. Chuck Pagano’s unit is in the top ten for total yards, passing, rushing, and scoring defense, but they are rather pedestrian in the big play department. Being 19th in sacks produced and 14th in turnovers forced helps explain why this team has failed to live up to expectations. If they can win out, however, all will be forgiven, as winning cures all.

Prediction: Khalil Mack terrorizes Dallas’ hobbled offensive tackles and wins the game almost single-handedly.

Chicago Bears 16, Dallas Cowboys 12

Jesse Pierson (@jessetpierson) is a former teacher and high school football coach who has written about the Colts for over a decade. He loves football, dogs, food, and comedy, and you can follow his work on his Facebook page, Jesse Pierson, Mediocre Writer.

Comments

NFL 2019

FEATURED
COMMUNITY