It wasn’t a happy Thanksgiving for the Dallas Cowboys (8-4) and Chicago Bears (5-7), who both suffered blowout losses to division rivals. Each team looks to rebound in Week 14 when they face off, playing on Thursday for a second straight game.
Dallas’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles was surprising, considering the way they’ve played all season. Mark Sanchez outplayed Tony Romo, and the Cowboys scored just 10 points in front of their home fans. The team hadn’t scored less than 17 points in a single game this season.
Chicago’s defeat, however, might have been expected. The Bears are out of the playoff race, and their loss to the Detroit Lions put them at 1-6 against winning teams.
It’s no surprise that Chicago struggled to score against a Detroit team that sports the NFL’s No.1 scoring defense, and they could have trouble finding the end zone against Dallas. The Bears offense has been among the worst in the league in 2014, failing to score more than 28 points in any game, and scoring 24 points or fewer in each game since Week 3.
Jay Cutler has thrown for 24 touchdowns and has completed 66.5 percent of his passes, but his mistakes have loomed large for Chicago. Only rookie Blake Bortles has thrown for more than his 14 interceptions, and he’s thrown two picks in three of his last four games.
Despite their lackluster performance on Thanksgiving, the Cowboys still have a top 10 offense, scoring 25.2 points per game. Romo faced a lot of pressure, getting sacked four times. Philadelphia ranks second in the NFL with 42 sacks, while Chicago is tied for 11th with 29 sacks.
Romo has historically struggled against Chicago. In 2012, he set a career-high with five interceptions against the Bears, and he threw for just 104 yards in last year’s 45-28 defeat to Chicago.
Having not played since Thursday, the Cowboys will have a full week of rest. According to Romo, playing on Thanksgiving could have affected how poorly the team played.
“It’s the first time that we had a short week so we had to figure out what we thought was best,” Romo said Sunday, via the Dallas Morning News. “When I look back I think I would change a couple of things. Saying that, I don’t think we have any more short weeks this year so that will be a benefit going forward.”
One positive for Dallas from last year’s contest was the play of DeMarco Murray. He totaled 146 yards on 18 carries, and is now looking to bounce back from just his second sub-100-yard game of 2014. The Bears are only allowing 105.5 rushing yards per game, good for 11th in the NFL, though they rank 16th, surrendering 4.2 yards per carry.
Even at home, the Bears are expected to lose their seventh game to a team with a record above .500. They are getting 3.5 points, according to the betting odds at Las Vegas casinos. Dallas is unbeaten on the road, while Chicago has a worse record at home. The over/under is 50.5.
PREDICTION: Dallas over Chicago, 27-24