Bears vs. Cowboys NFL Week 4 Preview
On Offense: The Chicago Bears offense struggle against Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews; failing to neutralize the rush LB. The Bears will face arguably the pass rusher in the league in Dallas Cowboys Demarcus Ware Monday night, who is more than capable of duplicating a similar performance.
The mistake the Bears made with Matthews is that they single block him with Left Tackle J’Marcus Webb for most of the game. Where most offensive coordinators help out their LT’s against elite pass rushers, Mike Tice figured that he could line-up Webb one-on-one with Matthews most the game.
That decision blew up in his face as Matthews ended up having a career night. Tice needs to draw up a game plan to neutralize Ware because single blocking him is not going to get the job done.
It’s not only Ware that the Bears have to worry about, the Cowboys have a formidable compliment pass rusher in Anthony Spencer. Gabe Carimi will have one-on-one assignments on Spencer as Tice will hope that Carimi can handle him single handily.
The Bears will also have to account for the many exotic blitzes that Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will throw at them. Almost similar to Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers, Ryan will send pressure from everywhere.
The O-Line, Tight-Ends, and Running Backs will need to be able to complete their assignments in order for Cutler to have time to go through his progression.
The Wide Receivers haven’t lived up to the hype through three games of the season. Against the Cowboys; the trio of Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and Earl Bennett will have their hands full against Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, and Mike Jenkins.
Marshall had a so-so game against Cortland Finnegan last week; he will face another big money CB in Carr. It will be a tough match-up for Marshall, but he should be able to win it unless the Cowboys bracket coverage him for most of the game.
For the second consecutive week, Jeffery will face a former SEC cornerback in Claiborne. Jeffery is a much bigger player than Claiborne, but Claiborne is an ultra-athletic CB that has the cover skills to combat the size disadvantage. It should be a fun match-up to watch.
With the talk about the passing game, the run game will need to be established early and maintain success throughout the game. The Cowboys have a great front seven that can contain the run without help from a safety. Matt Forte and Michael Bush should be available.
Key Match-Up on Offense: Cutler vs. Himself
The pressure will be on Cutler not only physically, but mentally as well. It is well documented that Cutler doesn’t perform well in primetime games; he has a chance to redeem himself Monday against the Cowboys, who rank eighth and second in points and passing yards allowed.
On Defense: The Cowboys have their own pass protection issue which explains the low offensive rankings. Because of that, you can expect them to help out Tony Romo by running the football.
The Bears front seven will have to take advantage of a struggling Cowboys O-Line by getting into the backfield and stopping Demarco Murray.
Gap discipline is a key as Murray is a homerun hitter out of the backfield, and Felix Jones is also capable of generating a big play in the ground game.
If the Bears defense is able to stop the run, they can make the Cowboys one dimensional.
Bears defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has designed a lot of different fronts that has bother Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, and Sam Bradford. He’s likely to do the same against an O-Line that has surrender seven sacks through three games.
It’s critical for the Bears to get pressure because the back seven will be tested by the Cowboys receiver group. This might be a game where Romo test Brian Urlacher mobility with TE Jason Witten.
The safeties will face their second big test against the duo of Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. Both are athletic WR’s with the speed to burn a secondary on even given play.
Key Match-Up on Defense: Tim Jennings vs. Bryant
Jennings has gotten off to an All-Pro Caliber start; he leads the league in interceptions with four and has been strong in zone and man coverage. He has a chance to put an exclamation point on his early success with a great performance against Bryant.