by Bryan Dietzler
The Chicago Bears, coming off a close win against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving will play host to the Dallas Cowboys this Thursday night at Soldier Field. Dallas was beaten by the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving and will be looking to get back on track and keep their lead in the NFC East. The Bears, at 6-6 are looking to continue their winning streak and keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Can they get a third straight win?
We will find out as we take a quick look at the Bears’ game this Thursday night versus the Cowboys. We will look at the numbers that these teams are putting up to compare both as well as look at the players that might factor into what happens in this game.
Bears on Offense
The Bears offense came to life, somewhat, in their game against the Lions on Thanksgiving. They crept up the stat sheet in terms of overall production and, at the least, looked a little bit better than they did in previous weeks. As it stands right now, when it comes to scoring offense, the Bears are averaging 17.7 points per game which is good for 27th in the league. Dallas’s scoring defense is holding teams to an average of 19.7 points which is 9th in the league.
Yardage has been hard to come by for the Bears over the past few games until they played the Lions and managed to gain quite a few yards against them. Chicago is ranked 29th in the league gaining 281.8 yards per game. The Dallas Cowboys defense has been giving up 321.6 yards per game which is good for 6th in the league. The Bears have some room to gain some yardage against the Dallas defense and need to do so in order to win this game.
Chicago’s passing game has been a huge problem for them this season. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has been very ineffective at times but not all of that is his fault. Poor offensive line play drops by the wide receivers and some odd play-calling have contributed to the issues that he has suffered from. It’s not all his fault but a good part of it is.
The Bears are 28th in the league averaging 202.4 yards per game through the air. Not that good by any means is it? The Bears are going to need to put it together in order to beat the Cowboys on Thursday night and they are going to need a strong passing game in order to keep up with Dallas. Will the Bears be able to get their passing going against the Cowboys? They better or it’s going to be a long game.
Rushing the ball has been a problem for the Bears all season as well. They just cannot seem to get their rushing attack going and this has caused them trouble. The Bears are currently ranked 28th in the league rushing the football averaging 79.3 yards per game. There is some good news for the Bears though as the Cowboys are allowing 106.4 yards per game on the ground. That makes them 16th in the league currently.
If Chicago’s defense can really hold the Cowboys down, then the offense needs to do just enough to win. It’s possible.
Bears on Defense
Speaking of defense, let’s look at the Bears defense and the Cowboys offense, statistically. The Bears are doing very well on defense but do suffer breakdowns every now and then. However, the Bears are strong but will be going up against a strong offense on Thursday.
The Bears’ scoring defense is ranked 4th in the league allowing just 17.3 points per game. That’s going to go a long way towards helping them win. But Dallas’ scoring offense is no joke. The Cowboys are scoring an average of 25.8 points per game which is 8th in the league. Chicago has been able to keep teams in check, for the most part, but will need some help from their offense to stay in this game.
When it comes to yards allowed, Chicago’s defense is allowing teams to gain an average of 319.7 yards which is seventh in the league. They will be facing the number one offense, in terms of yards as Dallas is gaining 432.8 yards per game. This is going to be a true challenge for the Bears.
The Cowboys passing game is ranked first in the league averaging 305.2 yards per game. The Bears’ defense, which is ranked 9th allowing 222.2 yards per game, will have its work cut out for it this Thursday. The Bears need to get pass pressure on Dak Prescott and force him into making mistakes. This can be done, and good defenses have put the hammer down on Prescott. Can the Bears keep him from passing the ball all over them?
Ezekiel Elliot leads the Cowboys rushing attack which is getting 127.6 yards per game. That’s good for 8th in the league. Chicago’s defense is giving up 97.5 yards per game which is 7th. The Bears cannot afford to let Elliot and company run all over them. If they do, thus controlling the ball and the clock, the Bears will lose this game for sure. And they cannot afford to do that.
The following is a look at the players who are injured on both sides heading into this game.
Prince Amukamara-CB-Hamstring-Has not practiced and may not play Thursday.
Ben Braunecker-TE-Concussion-Has not practiced yet this week and will not play.
Taylor Gabriel-WR-Concussion-Has not practiced this week and will not play.
Bobby Massie-OT-Ankle-Massie didn’t practice and won’t be playing in the game on Thursday.
Danny Trevathan-LB-Elbow-Trevathan has not practiced and is doubtful for the game.
Bilal Nichols-DT-Knee-He has been limited in practice.
Michael Bennett-DE-Foot-Limited in practice.
Randall Cobb-WR-Illness-Cobb was limited in practice.
La’el Collins-OT-Knee-Was limited in practice.
Amari Cooper-WR-Knee-Cooper practiced in full and should start Thursday.
Jeff Heath-S-Shoulder-He didn’t participate in practice and may not play on Thursday.
Byron James-CB-Hip-He practiced in full this week.
Sean Lee-LB-Pectoral/Non-injury-Lee did not practice this week yet.
Zack Martin-G-Elbow-Martin has practiced on a limited basis this week.
Tyron Smith-OT-Achilles-He was limited in practice this week.
Darian Thompson-S-Arm-Thompson was limited in practice this week.
Leighton VanderEsch-LB-Neck-He has not practiced this week and won’t play on Thursday.
Antwaun Woods-DT-Knee-Did not practice this week.
Tony Pollard-RB-Ankle-Has not practiced this week.
This is going to be a very interesting game. I think that the Bears can win, but will they? As long as their defense doesn’t suffer any breakdowns and plays tight, they will keep it close. If the offense can keep up with Dallas as well then, they can win this game. But I think that the Bears are going to fall just short of winning. I think that they lose a close one and begin gearing up for next year.