The second half of what amounts to the NFC East-NFC North Challenge goes on Monday Night Football. The Dallas Cowboys go on the road to meet the Chicago Bears (8:30 PM ET, NBC). The Cowboys have to keep pace in the East with the Philadelphia Eagles, who knocked off the Detroit Lions on Sunday. That same result opens the door for the Bears to pull back even with the Lions in the North.
Dallas comes in a very narrow road favorite, priced at (-115) on the moneyline for an outright win. But there’s no value in taking Chicago, who is posted at (-105). Weather is going to be a factor, as the Windy City has been just that this weekend. Whether Soldier Field will be covered with the snow blanket that we saw in Philly earlier on Sunday is in question, but there’s no doubt that the teams will have to battle the elements.
Neither team is well-suited to win in tough conditions. The Bears may have a slight advantage in terms of what Matt Forte can give them running the ball. But even though the Cowboy running game isn’t very good, everyone can run on Chicago’s defense in the post-Lovie Smith era.
To draw an analogy from college football, the Michigan State offense wasn’t good all year. But when they got a crack against the mediocre Ohio State defense this past Saturday night, the Spartans suddenly became an offensive juggernaut. On Monday Night, I expect the Bears’ D to have Cowboy fans feeling like they’re having flashbacks to the heyday of Emmitt Smith in the early 1990s.
Will it be enough to win? Neither team can be given a whole lot of confidence, but I lean Dallas’ direction.