Featured Video from Scott Reichel
Thursday Night Football here as the Chicago Bears host the Dallas Cowboys in a very interesting game for both sides. Both teams played on Thanksgiving last Thursday, and the Bears picked up a desperately-needed win while the Cowboys were humiliated at home. Oddsmakers have the Cowboys as a modest road favorite for this must-win game, which will be televised nationally by NBC.
Dallas was a big favorite on Thanksgiving against the Bills, and they laid a complete egg. It was an embarrassing effort, and one that helped solidify the expectation that Jason Garrett won't be back as head coach next year. All that being said the Cowboys are still very much alive in the NFC East, and they have a clear path to the playoffs. It starts here in Chicago.
The Bears are in the midst of a very disappointing season, but they did pick up a huge win over the Lions last week. At 6-6 they are still technically alive in the NFC playoff race, but it's certainly not looking good. Mitch Trubisky has been having a truly awful campaign, and he doesn't look anything like the franchise quarterback Bears fans were expecting. If he can pull off a win here, maybe he'll re-inspire some hope.
Cowboys Off Terrible LossThe Dallas Cowboys are coming off an absolutely brutal loss. Playing at home on Thanksgiving as a large favorite against the Bills they came out completely flat and ended up getting crushed by Buffalo. Many people initially thought that loss was the final nail in Jason Garrett's coffin, and while he won't be fired during the season it seems very likely the Cowboys have a new coach in 2020. All of that being said, the Cowboys are somehow still in pretty good shape for the playoffs. Since the Eagles lost to the Dolphins this past weekend, Dallas still has a one-game lead in the NFC East despite being only 6-6. Everybody was clowning them online for losing to the Bills, but I think that game had more to do with Buffalo playing really well than anything else.
Josh Allen was accurate all day and showed off his ceiling, looking the best that he has as a pro. Dallas' offense played a lot better than the final score indicated, and 15 points doesn't reflect the day that they had. Dak Prescott threw for 355 yards, and they averaged 5.4 yards per rush attempt. They didn't execute as well as they should have in the red zone, and Brett Maher also missed a couple of field goals. Assuming they can get that cleaned up, I think they'll be in good shape moving forward. Chicago still has a very solid defense, but it can get worn down by tough and imposing running backs. Elliott certainly fits that bill, and the game plan will surely center around him. The Cowboys out-gained Buffalo both in total yards and in yards per play, so I think some of the backlash is an overreaction.
Trubisky Finally Plays WellChicago, on the other hand, had a pretty successful Thanksgiving game. The Bears entered last week knowing they pretty much had to win out over their final five games, and they took care of business in the first one. They trailed for most of the game but came storming back late to pick up a 24-20 victory over the Lions.
Mitch Trubisky had his best game of the year, which is definitely a positive development. That being said, I'm not too optimistic that he will be able to repeat that kind of performance. Detroit is an absolute dumpster fire at the moment, and they just lost to the Redskins the week before. The Lions also gave up 35 points to Dallas just two weeks ago, and the Bears only put up 24. Chicago is technically still alive in the playoff race, but they almost certainly need to win out and that's going to be very hard to do given their schedule. The Bears finish the season against the Cowboys, Packers, Chiefs, and Vikings. Those are four of the best teams in the NFC, and all four teams have great quarterbacks.
Chicago's players are obviously aware of who they have to play, and I'm guessing in the locker room there's not a lot of optimism that Trubisky is going to lead them to four straight wins over those teams. As such I think we might not see the typical all-out effort you would expect from a team still fighting for the playoffs. The Bears haven't played too well at Soldier Field lately, and they are just 2-5 against the spread in their last seven home games. Their running game has simply never gotten off the ground as defenses have keyed in on it, and workhorse rookie running back David Montgomery is averaging only 3.5 yards per carry.
Trends, courtesy of Covers.com: Bears are:
- 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games
- 2-8 ATS in their last 10 Thursday games
- 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games overall
- 21-8-1 ATS in their last 30 games on grass
- 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 games as a road favorite
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Laying only a field goal with the Cowboys here is a good price. Their loss to Buffalo wasn't as nearly as bad as the media would have you believe, and they actually out-gained the Bills in that game both in terms of total yards and yards per play. I'm not ready to panic just yet and since the Cowboys still have a one-game lead in the NFC East, don't expect their players to come out hanging their heads. The Bears have an extremely brutal four games left, and I think their guys know they aren't making a run. I expect Dallas to come in and dominate this game.
Prediction: Cowboys -3
Full-Game Total Pick
I also like the under in this spot. Trubisky finally had a good game this past week, and I think it is unrealistic to expect him to string two together here. He only played well because he was playing Detroit's barely-there defense, and he should go right back to being who he usually is here. The Bears still have an imposing pass-rush and secondary, so I expect the Cowboys to be fairly conservative on offense and keep it on the ground. Chicago's defense also plays a lot better at home, and the under is 8-1 in their last nine home games.