Cowboys vs. Bears Expert Picks NFL Week 14
Another split on the Thursday game in Week 13 as the Saints beat the Falcons 26-18. I recommended Atlanta at home at +7.5 on the alternate line and "under" the total of 49. The Falcons should have covered, but their stupid kicker Younghoe Koo missed an extra point and a field goal. They also tried a two-point conversion - because of Koo's misses - that failed. Aggravating!
This week, it's a Thursday night matchup that looked like one of the NFC's most important games entering the season when the Dallas Cowboys visit the Chicago Bears to kick off Week 14, but now it's simply two of the conference's more disappointing teams - both at 6-6.
Get ready to hear every football talking head start whining about the NFL's playoff format soon because it's quite possible that the Cowboys win the NFC East with a losing record yet host an 11- or 12-win Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints or San Francisco 49ers team in the Wild-Card Round.
Sorry, but the NFL isn't going to start penalizing division champions by making them go on the road on the opening weekend of the postseason. Only two teams under the current format have made the playoffs with a losing record: the 2010 Seahawks won the NFC West at 7-9 and then upset the 11-5 Saints in the Wild-Card round before losing in Chicago in the Divisional Round. The 2014 Carolina Panthers won the NFC South at 7-9-1 and upset Arizona in the Wild-Card round before losing in Seattle.
Quite possible the Bears finish something like 9-7 and perhaps two games better than the Cowboys and miss the postseason. The only way I see Chicago making it is by winning out, and that might not even be enough. Rather doubt the offensively flawed Bears even manage that considering they visit Green Bay, host Kansas City and visit Minnesota after Thursday.
Cowboys at Bears Betting Story Lines
Both head coaches, Jason Garrett and Matt Nagy, were riding high at this point last season and considered excellent offensive minds, but the script has large flipped so far this season. There's no question that Jerry Jones is going to fire Garrett barring a trip to the Super Bowl. Frankly, it's a surprise that Jones didn't following the Cowboys' 26-15 home embarrassment against the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving.
This is a Super Bowl-caliber roster on talent alone. Few teams can match the offensive skill position triplets of Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper. Yet Dallas has totaled just 24 points combined in back-to-back losses. Since a third straight 100-yard game in a Week 9 rout of the Giants, Elliott hasn't topped 86. Prescott leads the NFL with 3,788 yards passing - no Cowboys QB has ever led the league in that category - but he had two very costly turnovers vs. the Bills. Kicker Brett Maher missed both his field goals against Buffalo. The team did hold tryouts at kicker but will stick with Maher. That guy can make kicks from 70 yards but struggles with the shorter ones. Maher has a long of 63 yards this year but has missed nine field goals overall.
Left guard Connor Williams tore his ACL in the Bills game and is done for the year. Cooper is banged up but continues to play. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch hasn't played since Week 11 due to a knee injury and won't Thursday.
Dallas did catch a major break on Sunday when the Eagles blew a 28-14 third-quarter lead and were stunned in Miami to remain a game back in the division. The Cowboys visit Philly in Week 16, and I tend to think the winner of that game takes the division.
Chicago is back to .500 for the first time since Oct. 20 following a Thanksgiving 24-20 win in Detroit. The Bears have won three of four to temporarily save their season, but I wouldn't get too excited because here are the quarterbacks they have beaten in that stretch: Jeff Driskel, Daniel Jones and David Blough. The latter got the start on Turkey Day with Matthew Stafford and Driskel both hurt. The Bears made Blough look like Joe Montana for much of the first half until Blough remembered he was an undrafted free agent who wasn't even all that good at Purdue.
Mitchell Trubisky had arguably his best game of the season with a season-high 338 yards and three touchdowns, but he just likes facing the Lions. In the past two seasons, he has three games of three touchdowns against them. The former No. 2 overall pick has three against the rest of the league combined in that stretch. Trubisky hit running back David Montgomery on the winning 3-yard score with 2:17 left. Three Bears starters missed the game injured: WR Taylor Gabriel, offensive tackle Bobby Massie and linebacker Danny Trevathan. Not likely any of them play Thursday.
Cowboys at Bears Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes, Dallas is a 2.5-point favorite (-120) with a total of 42.5. On the moneyline, Dallas is -145 and Chicago +125. On some alternate lines, the Cowboys are -3 (+105), -3.5 (+130), -7 (+200) and -7.5 (+223). Dallas is 4-2 against the spread on the road this season and 4-2 "over/under." Chicago is 2-4 ATS at home and 1-5 O/U.
The Cowboys are 4-9 ATS in their past 13 Thursday games. The Bears are 2-8 ATS in their past 10 on Thursday and 1-7 ATS in their previous eight overall. The under is 13-3 in Dallas' previous 16 December games. It's 5-1 in the Bears' past six overall. The over has hit in six straight meetings.
Cowboys at Bears Betting Prediction
First meeting since 2016 when Prescott and Elliott were in just their third NFL game and Chicago's quarterback was the forgettable Brian Hoyer. Thus, I take nothing from the Cowboys' 31-17 home win.
Chicago has been terrific value the past few years as a home underdog, covering 10 of the past 13. I think the cold weather Thursday benefits the Bears too. Think Bears win outright, but I'll take the 3.5-point alternate line and go under.
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