Cowboys vs. Bears NFL Week 4 Preview
The last time the Bears came to town it was a one sided match as Jay Cutler sliced and diced the Cowboys’ secondary by completing 21-of-29 passes for 277 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
This time around the Cowboys hope a much-improved secondary can keep Cutler from carving them up.
Stop the run: Stopping the run is crucial if they’re going to beat the Bears. For one, the Bears’ running game isn’t at full strength. Although Matt Forte is said to be the starter for Monday night. I don’t expect Forte to see much action coming off of a high-ankle sprain, though. Michael Bush will be the workhorse of that offense until Forte is 100%. Bush isn’t exactly a homerun hitter but he’s a big back that will lower the boom when given space. Stop the run and force Cutler to beat you with his arm.
Matchup to watch: Matt Forte/Michael Bush vs. Cowboys Defensive Line
Blitz Cutler: One thing Rob Ryan should have learned from the Seattle Seahawks game is to let DeMarcus Ware be himself. You’ve got the second fastest player to 100 career sacks on your team, use him! The Green Bay Packers proved that knocking Cutler around is the way to make the Bears’ offense implode. Pass protection isn’t their stronghold so I expect a healthy dose of Ware on Monday night, especially if the Cowboys can neutralize the Bears’ run game.
Matchup to watch: J’Marcus Webb vs. DeMarcus Ware
Protect Tony Romo: The “Cowboys offensive line” needs to collectively pull their heads out of their [expletives]. I can’t put in any simpler than that. The line must protect Romo. It won’t be an easy feat against a Bears’ defensive line, which leads the league in sacks, but they must find a way to do it. The Bears’ defensive line, much like the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants, is built to get after the quarterback, establishing the run could negate some of that speed off the edges and tire those guys as the game progresses.
Matchup to watch: Cowboys offensive line vs. Bears defensive line
Win the Special Teams Battle: The Cowboys have had some “hiccups” on special teams as of late. Their most recent “hiccup” came on punt protection and got starting punter Chris Jones hurt. The Cowboys will roll out former Buffalo Bills and newly signed punter Brian Moorman to face the Bears on Monday. Not saying he should, but if I were Joe DeCamilis, I would keep every punt away from Devin Hester.
Matchup to watch: Devin Hester vs. Cowboys’ special teams unit
Execute: The Cowboys are one of the most penalized teams in the NFL so it should come as no surprise; they need to eliminate those mental mistakes. Eliminating those penalties will not only keep the defense stay fresh, but it will keep them out of third-and-20 situations. For the fourth time this year the Cowboys will be rolling out a different set of starting safeties, execution up front should help protect that void on defense. The Cowboys running game has been nonexistent the last two games, which means the line must dominate the line of scrimmage and create lanes for DeMarco Murray to run through.
Matchup to watch: The Cowboys vs. Themselves
The Cowboys will be looking for their third win in the first quarter of the season on Monday. Should they get the win, it will be the first time since 2008 that the team is 3-1 to begin the season.
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