The Cowboys head into Week 8 with a 5-2 record and some momentum with the return of Dak Prescott. On Sunday they will host the Chicago Bears, and are currently favored by 9.5 points according to DraftKings Sportsbook. We talked to SB Nation’s Chicago Bears site, Windy City Gridiron, about the 3-4 Bears.
Blogging The Boys: So what happened with the Bears last week? They looked like a different team.
Windy City Gridiron: The Bears effectively had a mini Bye between playing Thursday night and the following week’s Monday. This was the first chance the new coaching staff had extra time to evaluate how the team has done in actual NFL games and it seems like they actually took advantage of it. They made some small personnel changes—Michael Schofield was an upgrade at right guard—but more importantly, significant changes to the offensive play calling. The most obvious difference was designed runs for Justin Fields. Those were generally effective, and the threat of them helped out the rest of the running game and the passing game.
The Bears have been close to playing well in a lot of games, but mistakes and poor execution at crucial moments have been frequent this season. This game, the Bears mistakes didn’t end up hurting them. They had them—there were several fumbles that they recovered—but the football gods decided to shine light on the team that wasn’t booing their second year starting quarterback.
BTB: What’s the thinking around Chicago on Justin Fields? Is he the future or is there still a way to go until that is known?
WCG: Today, he’s the future and nobody ever doubted it. At his low point (after the Texans game) my timeline was riddled with nonsense like “he aint it.” I think most are cautiously optimistic about Fields. It will take a lot for Chicago to have no doubts about a quarterback, and Fields has made enough frustrating mistakes to remind us of past heartbreaks at the position. But he’s got incredible athletic gifts, he’s a fast learner and a hard worker, and I think as he gets more comfortable with this offense and Getsy gets more comfortable calling plays for him, things are going to start going more smoothly.
BTB: The Bears just traded Robert Quinn. Was he just inconsequential to the defense this year or was there something more behind it?
WCG: Quinn was having a down year but just came off his best game. I wouldn’t say he was inconsequential to the defense, but the Bears have young pass rushers in Trevis Gipson and Dominique Robinson that would benefit from more playing time and Quinn wasn’t going to be kept at next year’s cap hit regardless. The Bears front office doesn’t see them as legitimate contenders this year, and this is the last step of what has been a year of clearing cap and building for the future. Quinn was a valuable leader in the Bears locker room, but ultimately a 4th round pick for a player that won’t be here next year anyway was a good move for the Bears.
BTB: Give us a couple of players who are having great years that we might not know much about.
WCG: Tevin Jenkins has been a pleasant surprise at right guard. He was drafted as a 2nd round tackle last year but didn’t play much. There was talk he might get traded as recently as training camp, and Bears fans were feeling pretty discouraged. But once he switched to guard, he looked good right away and has continued to improve every week. He’s a consistent difference maker in the run game, and is becoming more reliable in pass blocking. On defense, rookie safety Jaquan Brisker is having a great year, but after his one handed interception on Monday night football I’m sure everybody knows about him. Edge rusher Trevis Gipson is another young player to keep an eye on. He’s shown flashes as a rotational player this season, and I’m hoping he takes another step in Quinn’s absence.
BTB: The Bears are big underdogs, currently at -9.5. Do you think they will cover that spread? Will they win? Give us your prediction.
WCG: I can’t resist the opportunity to point out that the Bears were 8 point underdogs last week and won by 19 after taking a knee on the 2 yard line.
I feel like this game will go one of two ways. Either the Bears will do a good job scheming a way to decrease the damage caused by Dallas’ pass rush, or the Bears line will be outmatched and things will get ugly. Right now, I’m feeling good about our offensive coaching and I’m going to say the Bears cover the spread and will have a chance to pull off another upset win.