The Dallas Cowboys sit at 6-6 with four more games to go in the regular season. While Jason Garrett’s squad is in the driver’s seat to win its third division title in the four seasons of the Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott era, it is clear that the Cowboys have underachieved in 2019. Dallas has a chance to get things back on track, but it has to start tonight in the Windy City.
Unfortunately, the Cowboys will face another challenge: a Bears defense with talent all over the defense. Dallas has struggled in its last two meetings with elite defenses in the Patriots and the Bills, and Chicago has enough talent to make life hard for Dak Prescott, Kellen Moore, and the entire Cowboys offense.
While the Bears’ defense is not quite on the level as the New England and Buffalo defenses this season, Chicago is not short of talent on that side of the ball — led by All-Pro edge rusher Khalil Mack, stud linebacker Roquan Smith, and skilled corner Kyle Fuller. Chicago gives up just 319 yards per contest (seventh best in the NFL), 17 points per game (fourth), and 4.9 yards per play (seventh) in 2019.
Against the pass, the Bears allow just 222.2 yards per game in the air through 12 games this season. That number drops to 188.7 over the last three games; granted, Chicago has faced the likes of Jared Goff, Daniel Jones, and David Blough in those contests.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, have been lethal on offense for the vast majority of 2019 — especially through the air. Dallas ranks first in the NFL in yards per game with 432.8, while Dak Prescott is tops in the league in both passing yards (3,662) and passing yards per game (305.2). Prescott has also thrown the third most touchdowns this season with 23, trailing only MVP favorites Russell Wilson (26) and Lamar Jackson (25).
Furthermore, Amari Cooper is fifth in the NFL with 971 yards (and seven touchdowns) and Michael Gallup has 796 yards and three touchdowns to his name.
Another factor that has to be taken into account for tonight’s game is the weather. The temperature will be in the low-40s throughout Thursday night’s game. While it is not expected to rain, the Cowboys will be playing in 10+ mph winds. Jason Garrett had his team practice outdoors to better prepare for the weather in which they will be playing in.
Jason Garrett on @1053thefan said the Cowboys will practice outside today for the second consecutive day. They rarely practice outside on back to back days, but they will do so this week because of the grass field and weather conditions expected Thursday night in Chicago— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) December 2, 2019
The heavy winds will make it difficult for more explosive plays through the air, which could limit the Cowboys’ offensive attack. When also adding in one of the best pass rushers in football, the potential is there for Dallas to struggle passing the ball.
Dak Prescott has played like an elite quarterback for most of this season. Thursday evening is the latest opportunity for number four to prove that he has taken that next step as a franchise quarterback.
A win tonight could go a long way in getting this season back on the right track.