The Cowboys need this game heading into their bye week after two straight shaky performances that have people talking about a possible identity crisis.
Things don’t get easier here as the Bears feature the sixth-ranked defense in the National Football League. The Cowboys will need all hands on deck to walk off the field with a victory Monday.
Here are a few bold predictions on how they will get it:
Morris Claiborne Will Get His First NFL Interception
Morris Claiborne is the prized draft piece that Cowboys fans are expecting to be a star.
It is unrealistic for us to believe that Claiborne can be Deion Sanders overnight. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t be excited about the possibility a miracle might happen.
Claiborne is a playmaking cornerback. Some have even considered him to be a potential “island” cornerback because of his excellent skill set. Claiborne hasn’t wasted any time showing how valuable he is in coverage.
The one thing Cowboys fans haven’t seen from Claiborne is interceptions. For some individuals, stats are how careers are defined and interception totals definitely speak volumes.
Jay Cutler has already thrown six interceptions in 2012. Four of his six interceptions have been thrown in prime-time matchups. Four of his six have also been thrown when targeting receivers to his right. I know that Claiborne typically plays left but Marshall is most effective along the left sideline and Carr will be glued to him. This puts Claiborne manning the right side of the field for most of the game.
Cutler is careless with the football at times and is known to force passes. There isn’t any denying that he can be a dangerous quarterback, but his mistakes often outweigh his positive plays.
There is likely to be a strong battle between Brandon Marshall and press-cover corner extraordinaire Brandon Carr. With Carr and Marshall going at it all night, it will guarantee that Claiborne will see a lot of targets.
Targets equal opportunities; opportunities equal big plays.
Dez Bryant Will Break Out
The Chicago Bears have the sixth-ranked pass defense. Tim Jennings leads the league with four interceptions. Clearly I must be crazy, right?
The Bears may have a very effective pass defense, but that doesn’t mean that receivers aren’t finding success against them.
Danny Amendola was able to nab five receptions for 66 yards. Jordy Nelson put together six receptions for 84 yards. Reggie Wayne had the most success despite being led by a rookie quarterback with nine receptions for 135 yards.
Given the success of other receivers, it’s not farfetched to think that Dez can have a big game. By all the media’s negative reports you would think that Dez has had a horrible season. In fact, the Seattle game was his only unproductive game. Between the New York and Tampa Bay game he has 10 receptions for 147 yards.
Dez is a talented receiver who is only 23 years old. He is continuing to grow and has an exceptional skill set. He just needs a game to prove his critics wrong, this could be the one.
The Offensive Line Looks Vastly Improved
The offensive line has been under fire for the last two weeks. It seems like forever since the New York game where the offensive line led the way for 140 rushing yards and only allowed two sacks.
It’s no secret the Cowboys offensive line is a mediocre unit that is already facing injuries. With the exception of Tyron Smith, the line is comprised of reject linemen whose original teams didn’t think they were worthy of a big contract.
It doesn’t make me feel good knowing that we have a bunch of cast-offs protecting our top-tier quarterback.
I think this is the week that Bill Callahan gets his unit together. The Bears have an aggressive defense that is going to test the stability of the Cowboys offensive line. This would be a great game for the line to stand up to the test and prove to the league that it’s not going to be what keeps the Cowboys from a postseason run.
DeMarco Murray Totals 150 Yards
One thing I know for sure is that DeMarco Murray is substantially better than Cedric Benson. In fact, I know that Murray is better than any running back the Bears have faced to date.
Cedric Benson was able to amass 116 yards from scrimmage against the Bears.
Murray is an explosive runner who has exceptional vision. His vision should allow him to take advantage of the Bears defense with decent success. I’m not saying that Murray is going to gash the Bears for 150 yards rushing, but I think that he’ll be able to be effective enough to allow the offense to open up.
One aspect of Murray’s game that is exceptionally strong and underutilized is his ability as a receiver.
In college Murray was known as an effective screen receiver. The Bears are certain to be aggressive on defense and the best way to negate that aggression is draw runs and screen passes. Both of which are Murray’s strong points.
DeMarcus Ware Totals 2.5 sacks
Jay Cutler is a poor, poor fool. He is among the most sacked quarterbacks in the last three years. 2012 is no different for the battered quarterback, as he’s been sacked 11 times already this season.
DeMarcus Ware is back to his old antics and has four sacks through three games. Ware has been a terror for opposing offenses and is the second-fastest player to reach 100 sacks.
As a pass-rush specialist, Ware is as disruptive as they come. So it’s good news to know that Bears left tackle J’Marcus Webb has allowed 2.5 sacks this season and right tackle Gabe Carimi allowed two sacks against the Rams alone and isn’t 100 percent healthy.
This game is an important one for the Cowboys, and that’s when Ware plays his best. He should feast on a deficient Bears O-line.