1. DeMarcus Ware/Julius Peppers Attack: Two of the most intimidating, fierce pass rushers the game has to offer. No doubting whether or not these All-Pros will show up Sunday. Although they play different positions in different schemes, DeMarcus OLB in the 3-4, Julius DE in the 4-3, they both have the same idea in mind: Get to the QB as soon as possible. As much as I would like to see them generate pressure and invade backfields, in the back of my head I’m hoping they don’t knock out the opposing signal caller. Who wants to see Todd Collins or Jon Kitna? Whoever has the more eventful, disruptive afternoon could go a long way in determining which team is victorious at the end of the day.
2. RB’s Becoming WR’s: Matt Forte and Felix Jones are two of the best at catching the ball out of the backfield. They are their best when getting their hands on balls via the air, rather than balls via the ground. Both featured playmakers present mismatch problems for the opposing LB’s. There will be many opportunities for Forte and Jones to take advantage of during 3rd down passing situations. Watch out for screens, especially with Forte and the Bears. Chicago loves to dial up the screen pass not only with Forte, but with Chester Taylor. Don’t forget Marion Barber is a viable threat as well. These backs are all more than capable of making a big play, creating a big moment that could swing the momentum.
3. 3-4 Defense Gives Jay Cutler Fits: 4-12 career record against the 3 defensive lineman front and 4 linebacker strategy. 2-6 as the Chicago Bears starting QB. Leaves a bit of room for concern and doubt, now does it? Especially when you consider how good the Dallas defense at every position besides safety. To beat the 3-4 Jay needs to take what the defense gives him. That’s not Cutler’s M.O. a.k.a. his “Method of Operation”. He has to pick his spot carefully, then and only then once he’s established the short-intermediate passing routes, should he go deep and take a chance. First things first, attack with simplicity and keep the Cowboys unit on the field as long as possible by converting 3rd downs. To beat this 3-4 Jay will have to incorporate Hester more and target the open short-area receiver. The safety valve is a winner in this contest.
4. Nimble, Assertive Signal Callers: Watch Cutler or Romo play, you get the feeling these guys don’t trust their offensive line for one moment. And who would? Why would you not be on the run playing behind these shoddy lines. Regardless, just cherish the privilege it will be to see two of the most talented, risky, and competitive gunslingers in the game today. They will roll the dice and look foolish from time to time, but they will also take that same gamble and make a sensational play out of nothing. Nonetheless, I believe whichever QB makes more plays with his feet, will come out on top Sunday. Many have said its the QB with less turnovers/mistakes, well yes that’s obvious, but I don’t think that will take more emphasis over the scrambling ability factor. Watch theseQB’s improvise and run out of trouble and in to trouble a lot. This part of the game will be the difference maker offensively.
5. Rock-Solid Jason Witten: Steady. Consistent. Reliable. Why only three catches, seven targets against Washington? In order for Dallas to maximize its skill offensively, control the clock, and put up points -it all begins and ends with the involvement ofWitten . I think he’s going to be a prime time player against Chicago’s bend but don’t break defense. He holds the key to whether or not the ‘Boys win this game ugly or win it rather convincingly, quite smoothly. Witten is a big-time weapon, go-to guy in the clutch, and Tony Romo and OC Jason Garrett need to realize this soon and utilize him accordingly. Tough, durable possession that can move the chains on 3rd downs. You know what that equates to? A tired Chicago defense. The more you go to Witten the more worn down the Bears unit will be. He’s the one who sustains drives, Dallas better get back to basics. Dez Bryant, a rookie in his first NFL game, got more looks than him. Forget the fancy new toy at WR, and return to old Mr. Reliable. Witten is the all-important X-factor, the possible key to avoiding a potential, unexplainable 0-2 start.
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