With temperatures expected to be in the teens with a 12-14 mph wind blowing across the field, the Cowboys’ December woes may continue against a desperate pack of Bears. Dallas is 25-41 in the month of December, and owner Jerry Jones recently addressed his team’s struggles late in the season. “I think it’s real,” Jones said. “I don’t mean to be trite, but you can probably tie that to why we have had disappointments in December. In this time of the NFL, it’s hard to build up enough edge to play at that level during December, so you’d better be having your arrow going up rather than going down.”
The good news for Dallas fans is the fact that Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler will miss his fourth consecutive game. Moreover, Chicago will be taking the field without linebacker Lance Briggs (shoulder), which is a significant loss in that the Bears rank dead last in the league against the run. In fact, Chicago has allowed the most runs of 20 or more years in the NFL this season (15). But, not all is lost for the Bears as backup quarterback Josh McCown has filled in admirably by throwing for 1,038 yards and five touchdowns with only one interception (103.6 passer rating; second-best in Chicago’s single-season history).
McCown should also have wide receiver Brandon Marshall on the field as he participated fully in Saturday’s workout and is listed as probable for Monday’s game. Counterpart Alshon Jeffery is coming off a career-best performance last week with 12 receptions for 249 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, explosive running back Matt Forte remains a threat in the backfield as he is only 29 yards short of his fourth 1000-yard rushing season. We expect the Bears to have success moving the ball against a Dallas defense that has allowed the most yards per game in the NFL at 421.6, while ranking 30th in the league in total passing yards per game (294.9).
From the line of scrimmage, Dallas is 0.6 yards per play worse than average (0.1 yards per play worse than average offensively; 0.5 yards per play worse than average defensively), while the Bears are 0.1 yards per play worse than average (0.4 yards per play better than average offensively; 0.5 yards per play worse than average defensively). We expect Dallas to run the ball at will against a bad Chicago front seven, while the Bears will likely exploit a weak Dallas secondary with two very athletic targets in Marshall (78 catches; 990 yards; 9 touchdowns) and Jeffery (70 catches; 1,109 yards; 5 touchdowns). Both Marshall and Jeffery have combined for 27 catches of 20 or more yards this season.
From a technical standpoint, the Bears are 2-9-1 ATS this season, including 1-3 SU and 0-4 ATS in their last four games, whereas the Cowboys are 8-4 ATS in 2013. However, the underdog is 4-1 ATS in this series, while the Cowboys are 1-7 ATS in their last eight Monday night appearances (1-10 ATS as a pick or favorite). This will be a very exciting to watch as the Cowboys are tied with Philadelphia atop the NFC East, while the Bears are fighting for their playoff lives. We hope you enjoyed our Monday Night Football Betting preview between Dallas and Chicago.