Week 14 kicks off tonight with two NFC teams fighting to stay alive in the playoff race. Dallas visits Chicago and both teams are desperate for a win. The Cowboys at 8-4 are in a good spot but can’t afford to give up any ground given how strong the rest of the NFC is. They are still on the outside looking in. Meanwhile, a loss for Chicago and a win from either Seattle or Detroit would eliminate them from playoff contention. This game has a lot of playoff implications so it should be a fun one to watch.
Dallas is coming off a beating they took at home to division rival Philadelphia. The running game failed to get going and the Cowboys’ offensive line finally showed some cracks as Tony Romo was sacked four times by the end of the game. It was also the first time since Week 1 that Romo threw more than one interception in a game. Dallas offense will be out to prove last week was a fluke and that they weren’t just getting into typical Cowboy December form. The defense also gave up a season high 256 yards on the ground to LeSean McCoy and company. Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli will need to get his front seven into shape if they plan to contain Chicago’s Matt Forte.
On the other side, the Bears are also coming off a humiliating loss on Thanksgiving to a division rival in the Lions. The Bears jumped out to an early lead over Detroit but falter and were down again by halftime, never scoring again after the first quarter. Calvin Johnson battered the defense and Matt Stafford began to pick apart Chicago’s defense. Mark Trestman is coaching for his job right now in the Windy City. The Bears could have some success spreading the Cowboys out and attack them down the field and through screens designed for Alshon Jeffrey and Forte. Defensively, look for Chicago to bring the house and bottle up Demarco Murray. The Cowboys have struggled whenever their running back has been unable to get on track.
Prediction: Dallas plays it safe early, getting Murray and Romo into a groove and jumping out to an early lead. Jay Cutler brings the Bears back but tries to do too much later in the game once the Cowboys have opened up their offense. Cutler has two costly second half interceptions and Dallas pulls away to win 31-17.