FRISCO, Texas – It feels like a bit of a foreign concept these days, but the Cowboys have a chance to start a win streak this Sunday against the Bears.
Chicago rolls into town with an ugly 0-2 record and without their starting quarterback, as Brian Hoyer is expected to start in place of an injured Jay Cutler. Meanwhile, the Cowboys – fresh off a 27-23 win against Washington – are hoping to grab their first win at AT&T Stadium since Sept. 13, 2015.
Before the game gets underway on Sunday evening, here are the gut feelings for staff writers Nick Eatman, Rob Phillips, David Helman and Bryan Broaddus.
Nick Eatman: I do think this will be a tough game although the Bears have struggled lately and they've got a ton of injuries. It's still Sunday night. It's still the Chicago Bears and John Fox is the coach. He will have them ready and he have them playing physical. To win, the Cowboys must start fast. They can't get too far behind and can't give the Bears a lot of energy and hope. Plus, a lead will give the Cowboys a shot to keep running the ball. I see more than 100 yards from Ezekiel Elliott, a touchdown in some fashion by Lucky Whitehead and an interception by rookie Anthony Brown. Overall, I think the Cowboys and Bears play a close game but a late touchdown will give Dallas the 31-20 win.
Rob Phillips:The Bears might be banged up, but they're a well-coached team that has played well on defense, even with multiple injuries on that side of the ball. In two games decided by a total of five points, the biggest key for the Cowboys has been their plus-one turnover margin. They can't afford to give Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer, if he starts for an injured Jay Cutler, more possessions. Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott has done a great job protecting the ball and taking what defenses are giving him, but Ezekiel Elliott was quietly more productive in Week 2 (two fumbles aside) and I think this is the key matchup the Cowboys win. It'll be another close game, perhaps higher scoring than expected, but I think Dallas gets to 2-1.
David Helman:I assume this isn't going to be an easy game, because very few games in the Jason Garrett era are. That said, if the Cowboys can't take care of business at home, against a backup quarterback and a defense depleted by injuries, then they're probably in for a long season. The Chicago defense is pretty solid, but they're not going to have Lamarr Houston, and they'll likely be without Danny Trevathan. I think it's going to be tough sledding for Ezekiel Elliott and the running game, but they'll be able to put together a solid body of work – maybe 120 total rushing yards? I also don't see anything from the Bears secondary that scares me into thinking Dak Prescott will have a bad game. I think he throws two touchdowns on Sunday night. Meanwhile, I expect Jeremy Langford to have a solid day against a suspect Dallas rush defense. But I just don't trust Brian Hoyer to come into this building and put the team on his back. It's not going to be a blowout, but the Cowboys are the better team and they should come out with a win – something like 31-27.
Bryan Broaddus:Jason Garrett might not believe the "Desperate Team Theory," but I sure do. The Chicago Bears are coming into AT&T Stadium with a record of 0-2 and their quarterback is not starting due to injury. They're physically banged up and not much is going right on both sides of the ball. It's sounds like a perfect opportunity for them to get a victory against an opponent that can't find a victory at home with two hands and a flash light. The Cowboys do have a little momentum from a nice division win in Washington where the defense was able to seal the victory on one final stop of the Redskins. My gut feeling is that this game will be extremely close throughout. Both teams will work to establish the run and do their best to protect their quarterback's from mistakes. My gut feeling is that the Cowboys manage to grab a late turnover and seal the game with a touchdown drive much like we saw in Washington. Dallas wins this one 24-16 but it will not be easy.