“A candy bar, a falling star, or a reading from Dr. Seuss” is a throwaway line from a song by R.E.M. called “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight.” It doesn’t mean anything, but it’s an apt description of the Bears’ season. Candy bars could be moral victories, for instance. A falling star represents upsets and Sunday’s game against the Cowboys. The readings from Dr. Seuss are lessons learned in Chicago’s worst losses.
- Candy Bars – The Giants and Vikings games are two games the Bears deserved to win. Unfortunately, the Bears deserved to lose against the Texans.
- Falling Stars – Wins over the 49ers and Patriots. The New England game represented Chicago’s best offensive output of the season.
- Readings from Dr. Seuss – Losses to the Packers and Commanders. The Bears gained 391 yards against Washington and lost 12-7. They gained 390 yards against the Patriots and won 33-14. If Chicago can punch it into the end zone a victory against Dallas is not out of the question.
Chicago is +360 on the money line (bet $100 on the Bears to win straight up to win $360), and the Cowboys are 10-point favorites. The over/under is 42.5, and like last week, most of the bets favor Chicago.
Dallas has an open-air dome and weather won’t be a factor. The game-time temperature will be 66 under sunny skies.
Loved the blocking on Khalil Herbert’s screen touchdown.
Equanimeous St. Brown sealed off the DB perfectly, and Braxton Jones absolutely destroyed Jalen Mills in space. Kudos obviously goes to Justin Fields for the tough throw, too. #Bears pic.twitter.com/uPFvOmF0Cd
— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) October 25, 2022
Chicago is averaging 390 yards of offense in its previous two games, and Justin Fields led the team to its biggest win since he joined the Bears. Fields was slinging it all over the field on Monday night. He passed for one TD and 179 yards on 21 attempts in addition to rushing for one score and 82 yards. Fields quarterback rating was 85.2. In fact, Chicago’s rushing attack is one of the best in the league. The Bears rushed for 243 yards against the Patriots and for 237 against the Commanders. Matt Eberflus and Luke Getsy split the snaps pretty evenly between Khalil Herbert and David Montgomery.
Despite the impressive win on Monday night, the Bears traded DE Robert Quinn to the Eagles a day later. Quinn and Roquan Smith were the heart and soul of the defense. Dominique Robinson will see more snaps in Quinn’s absence. Chicago’s defense has been stellar for most of the season. Safety Jaquan Brisker has been a revelation and fellow rookie Kyler Gordon improves each week. The Bears have stopped their opponents 46% of the time on 3rd down.
Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are the offensive stars in Dallas. Elliott has a knee injury and is not expected to play Sunday. His backup is Tony Pollard, who rushed for 83 yards on 12 carries against the Lions last week. The Cowboys have a top-five offensive line, so Dallas shouldn’t miss a beat with Pollard. Prescott’s primary wide receivers are Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb. Prescott has only played two games because of injuries, and Dallas is 1-1 in his starts.
Dallas fans have taken to calling the team’s defense “Doomsday 4.0” and it’s the strength of the team. The Cowboys forced five turnovers and recorded five sacks in last week’s 24-6 home win over Detroit. Linebacker Micha Parsons has eight sacks, eight TFLs, and two forced fumbles. Cornerback Trevon Diggs has three of the team’s seven interceptions. Dallas has held their opponents to a 35.8% third-down efficiency.
Why the Bears Will Win
The Bears have to keep the Cowboys’ offense on the sidelines, and they can do that because Dallas converts just 32.2% of its third-down attempts. The loss of Quinn puts more pressure on Chicago’s front seven to stop the run, and they’re facing their toughest offensive line of the season. If the Bears can negate Dallas’ ground game, the Bears will win a low-scoring contest. The Bears have to hold onto the football on offense. The Cowboys’ opportunistic defense has a +6 turnover ratio. Dallas is weak in pass coverage, so if Fields can limit turnovers and stay away from Diggs, he should have another fantastic game.
Why The Cowboys Will Win
When the ball is in the air, better believe @TrevonDiggs is gonna go get it!
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) October 23, 2022
They’re going to force the Bears to beat them through the air. Chicago will counter with more designed QB runs to keep Dallas honest. The Cowboys will similarly go with a ball-control script long enough to let its stingy defense set the tone. The Cowboys are second in the NFL in scoring defense at under 15 points per game allowed. They’ll heavily pressure Fields, too.
Make no mistake, the Cowboys have a distinct advantage today because of their defense. That said, if Dallas allows Chicago to control the football, the Cowboys are vulnerable.
- Bears – Larry Borom (concussion) will not play today. That’s a big blow because Chicago is already without Cody Whitehair (knee) and Lucas Patrick (toe). Both are on injured reserve. Armon Watts (personal reasons) was removed from the IR and practiced on Thursday and Friday.
- Cowboys – Elliott (knee) is not expected to play and is listed as doubtful. Starting DT Quinton Bohanna (shoulder) is questionable, as is his backup Neville Gallimore (wrist). Parsons (shoulder), TE Dalton Schultz (knee), WR Noah Brown (Foot), S Mailk Hooker, OT Terrence Steele (Neck), and DE Sam Williams are likewise questionable.
Sean Holland previewed today’s game on Friday evening and has the Cowboys taking down the Bears 19-13. I believe the Bears can run against that Doomsday 4.0 defense and that Montgomery and Herbert will have big games. I expect Fields to get 100+ yards rushing, too. Darnell Mooney will likewise have a big game. Chicago will limit turnovers but they won’t limit sacks and pressures. Therefore, I’m picking Dallas in a 27-23 win, with the Bears getting that candy bar for a moral victory against a 5-2 team.