The Cowboys hope to keep their momentum going towards the playoffs when they battle the Chicago Bears in their next game. Chicago currently has a 6-6 record and are fighting for the division crown in the NFC North but they are in a two-game slide. And those losses were not against very good teams. Two weeks ago they got trounced by the Rams (41-21) and on Sunday they dropped a heart-breaker to the Vikings (23-20).That slide has given the Detroit Lions a little breathing room in the NFC North. The Lions hold the tiebreaker over the Bears, so Chicago would have to win two more games than the Lions out of the final four. That is a tough task.
Much of what we'll see when we face Chicago is dependent on the health of Jay Cutler. As of now, the best guesses are that Chicago is cautiously optimistic that Cutler could return for the Dallas game. Even if he does return it's likely there will be some rust to knock off. In his absence Josh McCown has put up solid numbers but the Bears are only 2-2. So why are the Bears struggling?
They have a very bad defense and despite good stats on offense, they haven't been scoring as much as they should.
The Bears defense, especially its run defense, are hurting any chance the team has of making the playoffs. Adrian Peterson ripped them for 211 yards, but even running backs not-named AP have been getting fat on the Bears defense. The Bears are dead last in run defense for 2013 and are middle of the pack in passing defense. They also don't create a lot of sacks. The one thing they do fairly well is create turnovers.
Their front four hasn't been spectacular, the linebackers without Lance Briggs are struggling and the safeties are a real liability. They are missing Charles Tillman at corner. In short, they are a mess on that side of the ball.
On offense, it all looks good on paper. Josh McCown has put up great stats while filling in for Jay Cutler. Matt Forte is a quality back who can hurt you in the running and passing game. The emergence of Alshon Jefferey at wideout gives them two big, athletic receivers in Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall. Martellus Bennett has been a competent tight end for Chicago. They look like they would be an offensive juggernaut.
But over the last four weeks they have scored an average of just 20.75 points per game. That's not going to get it done with a bad defense on the other side. And two of those games went into overtime. Without Jay Cutler, the team's scoring is down even though McCown has had a decent QB rating and hasn't been throwing interceptions.
The Chicago Bears come into the game on the heels of a killer loss to the Vikings, and they have lost three of their last four. They are in danger of falling out of the playoff race so they will be a desperate team next Monday night.