The Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears will clash tonight in an NFC showdown.
Both the Cowboys and the Bears are trying to keep pace in their respective divisions. The Bears are trying to keep up with the surprising 3-1 Minnesota Vikings, whereas the Cowboys need a victory to hold steady with the 3-1 Philadelphia Eagles.
Both teams need a victory badly, and it’s going to be an exciting one at Cowboys Stadium. With that being said, here are three Dallas players set for huge nights.
Chicago Bears left tackle J’Marcus Webb is going to be in for a long, long night. When asked about having to face DeMarcus Ware on Monday Night Football, Webb told reporters (per The Chicago Tribune’s Vaughn McClure):
I just really have to focus on myself, my footwork, and my hands, and the rest will take care of itself. Being at home, it should be fun and exciting. And I get to go against one of the best pass-rushers in the league.
One can only imagine that Webb was describing the fun that Cowboys fans will have watching DeMarcus Ware get after Jay Cutler over and over again. Because it’s hard to imagine that tonight will be much fun for Webb.
The Cowboys defense may not be getting after the quarterback quite as much as usual this season, but Ware has still done more than his fair share, racking up four sacks.
That’s bad news for Webb, who has struggled mightily this year. Webb was absolutely battered by the Green Bay Packers’ Clay Matthews a few weeks ago, surrendering three sacks in the Chicago loss.
The Bears are going to be sending a lot of help Webb’s way tonight, but there will inevitably be plays where he has to try and contain Ware one-on-one. And those plays are more than likely going to end up with Jay Cutler on the ground.
Barring some minor miracle, DeMarcus Ware is set for a monster night against the Bears.
The Cowboy’s passing attack has been merely alright this year, averaging 265 yards per game, good for 12th in the league.
They’re facing a Bears defense that has only surrendered 203 yards per game through the air (seventh in the league). That doesn’t sound like a recipe for a big day for Miles Austin, but a look at the Chicago rushing defense explains everything.
The Bears have dominated against the run this year, giving up only 76 yards per game. That means that the Cowboys, who have rushed for just 87 yards in their past two games, are going to have to air it out to move the ball against Chicago.
And when Romo has to throw, Austin tends to have a big game.
Austin has only squared off against the Bears once, in 2010, where he snagged 10 passes for 142 yards in a 27-20 Cowboys loss. Look for him to have similar success against Chicago tonight.
Marshall has killed the Cowboys the last two times he’s seen them, totaling nine catches for 194 yards and two touchdowns and making Dallas defenders look silly in the process.
But things have changed for the Cowboys ever since they went out and signed cornerback Brandon Carr. Carr has done wonders for the Dallas pass defense and has played both the cornerback and safety positions.
It's no exaggeration to say that he’s been the primary reason that the Cowboys are ranked first against the pass.
The Cowboys’ secondary is pretty banged up right now, so Dallas will have to lean on Carr even more than usual. And he sounds ready. He recently talked about his matchup with Marshall, saying (per Jonathan Auping of the team’s official site):
"Monday night I assume that they are going to try to get him the ball early and often so I’m going to be on my A-game early. I’ll expect a 60-minute battle.”
Carr clearly knows how important it is to limit Marshall’s catches. If his play earlier this season is any indication, he’ll be more than capable of doing just that.