Previewing the Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears Sunday night matchup and what it will take for the Cowboys to come away with their second win of the season.
The Dallas Cowboys were able to score three touchdowns on the ground against the Washington Redskins in Week 2. Yet, the Cowboys still averaged under four yards per carry for the game, rushing 30 times for 102-yards.
Rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott has yet to break the 100-yard mark in a game thus far in his career but it would not be a stretch to assume that 100-yards is attainable for him in this matchup with the Bears.
The Bears have allowed just over 230-yards on the ground through two weeks and have held their opponents to under four yards per carry in both contests.
Dallas will want to establish dominance up front by knocking the Bears’ front seven off of the line of scrimmage while clearing running lanes for Elliott and fellow running back Alfred Morris.
If Dallas wants to win this game in convincing fashion, the ground game is going to be a major contributing factor to that.
After catching just one pass for eight yards in the first game of the year, receiver Dez Bryant was involved from start to finish in the victory over Washington.
Dez caught seven passes for 102-yards. Many of those catches being on crossing patterns and posts where he is attacking the middle of the field which helped him find openings while moving the Cowboys into scoring position.
It was a solid showing for the superstar receiver, but it was far from Dez being at his best.
If the Cowboys want to win by more than one possession and pull away from the Bears Sunday night, it is going to take Bryant throwing up the X at least one time, if not more.
It has been a pretty simple formula for the Cowboys since Bryant entered the league, keep feeding Dez and points will come.
Expect to see plenty of targets to Bryant when getting close to the end zone against Chicago as they don’t have a cornerback that can match his physicality.
After seeing the lack of chemistry on the high point fade routes that were attempted between quarterback Dak Prescott and Bryant in last week’s game, I hope to see them try and connect more on a low back shoulder throw that is away from the defender this week.
The Dallas Cowboys defense has been far from spectacular- but they have most certainly better than expected.
The Cowboys have allowed a combined 43 points through two games while registering two sacks and one interception in each outing.
Not too shabby, defense.
However, there were plenty of red flags if you watched the game against Washington. If Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins would have had a better day throwing the football, that game could have easily been a double digit defeat for Dallas.
There were plays where the defensive play call was clearly a bad decision by defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, and there were plays where the Cowboys players simply didn’t execute well enough.
Some bad play calls included a third down blitz where safety Byron Jones left Redskins tight end Jordan Reed uncovered while being sent after quarterback Kirk Cousins, allowing Cousins an easy opportunity to pitch it out to Reed to convert the first down.
Another bad play call included a situation where Redskins receiver DeSean Jackson lined up in the slot and the Cowboys had linebacker Andrew Gachkar in man coverage with one of the fastest players in the NFL. Can you say mismatch?
Aside from that, there was a big play down the left sideline to Washington rookie receiver Josh Doctson where there was clearly poor execution by multiple Dallas defenders. On the play, the Cowboys secondary was sucked inside, focusing on the speedy Jackson who ran a crossing route. No one stayed outside with Doctson and had Cousins thrown a better ball, the Redskins first round pick likely waltzes in for a 60-yard touchdown.
If the Cowboys defense can play assignment-sound football and continue doing exactly what they have been doing for two games, which is playing a bend but don’t break-type defense and taking advantage of opportunities to force turnovers, Dallas should have no problem keeping the Bears under 25 points. That should be a strong formula that will result in a Cowboys victory on Sunday.