Suddenly in a fight for their playoff lives, the Dallas Cowboys visit the Chicago Bears for a crucial NFC contest on Thursday night. After falling to division rival Philadelphia on Thanksgiving Day, Dallas is just 2-3 over its last five games and locked in a three-team tie for a wild-card berth as the season heads down the stretch. The Cowboys are, surprisingly, 5-0 on the road this season.
A mess on the defensive side of the ball, the Bears are clearly playing out the string with questions aplenty. Chicago had its modest two-game winning streak snapped at Detroit on Thanksgiving Day after blowing a 14-3 first-quarter lead and yielding 474 yards. The Bears rank 26th in total defense and 30th in scoring defense, allowing 28.1 point,s and once again quarterback Jay Cutler’s future with the team seems uncertain.
TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network.
LINE HISTORY: Oddsmakers opened the Bears as 3.5-point home dogs. The total opened at 50.5 and moved up a half-point.
INJURY REPORT: Cowboys – DE George Selvie (Questionable, thigh), S Jeff Heath (Out, thumb). Bears – DT Jeremiah Ratliff (Questionable, knee), WR Alshon Jeffery (Probable, hamstring), TE Martellus Bennett (Probable, foot), S Chris Conte (Questionable, eye), K Robbie Gould (Doubtful, groin).
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the low-30s with wind blowing toward the north endzone at around 10 mph.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Cowboys (+0.25) – Bears (+2.25) + home field (-3.0) = Bears -1.0
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “Both teams emerge off disappointing Thanksgiving Day performances with each quarterback looking to shake the December doldrums. With each squad needing a win like blood it would be no surprise to see this fray go down to the final play.” Covers Expert Marc Lawrence.
CHEERLEADER WAR: The Bears don’t have cheerleaders, so here’s a double dose of the Cowgirls.
ABOUT THE COWBOYS (8-4 SU, 6-6 ATS, 8-4 O/U): In a matchup that seemed to favor the offenses, Tony Romo posted a 53.7 quarterback rating – his lowest since 2011 – in a dreadful 33-10 loss to the Eagles. At 6-1 the Cowboys seemed to be a Super Bowl contender but since then their lone wins have come against lightweights Jacksonville and the New York Giants. With 1,427 yards, DeMarco Murray still has a wide lead in the NFL rushing ranks but Romo threw two picks and no touchdowns last time out, breaking a streak of 38 straight games with a scoring pass.
ABOUT THE BEARS (5-7 SU, 5-7 ATS, 7-5 O/U): Chicago has once again thrust its offense on the shoulders of Cutler with sub-par results, as the veteran has thrown 24 touchdowns and 14 interceptions on the season. Already in shambles, the Bears’ defense took another hit when it put steady linebacker Lance Briggs on season-ending injured reserve Friday. With Josh McCown under center, Chicago blasted Dallas last season 45-28, racking up 490 total yards and never punting in the contest.
* Over is 4-0 in the last four meetings.
* Cowboys are 4-1 ATS in their last five road games.
* Over is 4-0 in Cowboys last four road games.
* Bears are 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight Thursday games.
COVERS CONSENSUS: According to Covers Consensus, 60 percent of bettors are on the Cowboys.