Contrasting styles will be the theme Sunday night when Dallas visits Chicago in a matchup of two of the NFC’s best teams.
The Cowboys are leading the league in scoring, thanks to an offense that can run and throw with the best of them.
The Bears’ offense has scored one touchdown.
Chicago is a force to be reckoned with because of its impregnable defense, which held San Diego in check in Week One.
The Cowboys’ defense looked very pregnable in a shootout against the Giants and a win over Miami.
Brian Urlacher is one of the most famous middle linebackers in the game today. Bradie James is...the African American brother of Kevin James?
Tony Romo throws touchdowns. Rex Grossman throws interceptions.
Terrell Owens is the quintessential prima donna wide receiver. Bernard Berrian is from Fresno State.
The differences are remarkable, but the results seem to be very similar.
Both teams have set themselves apart in the NFC—the Cowboys by performance, the Bears by reputation. Their matchup Sunday night will be the first chance for either one to gain control of the conference.
And with the Saints struggling, Chicago versus Dallas could be an NFC Championship Game preview.
The Bears are most certainly the more desperate team coming in. Chicago couldn't have had two more different opponents to open the season than the Chargers and the Chiefs—San Diego is one of the league’s best, and Kansas City is one of the worst.
Predictably, the Bears split the two games.
Of concern in Chicago is less the way the team looked in the loss to the Chargers than the way they looked in the win over the Chiefs. The offense was uninspiring against a charitable Kansas City defense. Were it not for a Devin Hester punt return, the Bears could have easily given the game away.
Rex Grossman was actually very good at the start of last season, but he has been mediocre at best to open 2007. The Chiefs are a quarterback’s best friend, but Grossman made them look more like acquaintances.
After the loss of Thomas Jones, Grossman's play is more important to the offense than it was a year ago—but the QB has failed to produce like the Bears need him to.
Tony Romo, on the other hand, can do no wrong.
The Cowboys QB has been on fire to start the year, torching the secondary of the Giants and putting up 37 on the Dolphins. He and Grossman are worlds apart.
The same could be said of the two defenses. Chicago made life miserable for LaDainian Tomlinson and the Chargers to open the season, and the D stifled Kansas City for much of last week's game.
The Bears won a lot of games last year on the strength of their defense, and the unit looks to be just as strong this season.
Dallas' D is another story. The Giants rolled up big offensive numbers in Week One, and the loss of CB Terrance Newman obviously hurts. With NT Jason Ferguson out for the year, the run defense could slip a bit, too.
Head coach Wade Phillips is renowned for his defensive coaching ability, and it looks so far that he'll have his work cut out for him.
For two vastly different teams, Sunday's game means the same thing: The winner will get a leg up in the NFC race—and a boost of confidence from the knowledge that they're the conference's best team.
The Cowboys have had a spotty recent history in big games, and they'll need to be at their best on the road in Chicago. Don't expect Rex Grossman to light up the scoreboard, but do expect the Bears to escape with the victory.
Bears 17, Cowboys 14
For previews of all this week's games, go to www.kevanlee.com.