Cowboys CB Orlando Scandrick vs. Bears WR Alshon Jeffery
This is a battle that is going to happen on several different levels. Scandrick will get a chance to carry Jeffery outside but out of the slot as well. The Bears will try to get the Cowboys to have to play their nickel and put B.W. Webb on the field which Monte Kiffin will do but I expect him to move Webb either inside or out depending how they want to play Jeffery. I like the physical nature of Scandrick in this matchup for the simple reason that he has the reactionary skills to play routes and make a play on the ball. Jeffery is a good route runner and Scandrick will not be confused or allow him to get the best of him in the way he runs his routes. [embedded_ad]
It will be interesting to see if the officials allow both Scandrick and Brandon Carr to get physical with Jeffery and Brandon Marshall. With Josh McCown at quarterback, the ball comes out quicker and it tends to come out underneath. Where Scandrick is at his best is when he can read the route and drive on the ball. With that being said, Scandrick and Carr have to be ready for the double move, "Sluggo" or the slant and go.
Jeffery is coming off a career game last week against the Vikings in receptions and yards and really has been a force all season. Orlando Scandrick has been the Cowboys most consistent defensive back and is the most sensible player for Kiffin to match Jeffery with an attempt to win this game.
Cowboys OT Tyron Smith vs. Bears DE Julius Peppers
There has plenty of talk of Tyron Smith and the type of season that he is currently having. Some are asking, if he is playing at a Pro Bowl level? Smith has been outstanding and he has taken his game to a higher level and become more of a complete player. All season he has taken on the best of the opponents defensive ends and carried himself well. This will be another opportunity to handle one of the league's best in Julius Peppers on the national stage.
It is games like these that get you noticed around the league when everyone is sitting down watching. Smith has the perfect make up to handle Peppers and the way he plays. Both are very athletic and have length to their games. Would not call Peppers a relentless rusher but Smith will need to find ways to finish blocks on him because there will be two or three plays where you don't finish the job and he is hurting your quarterback. I expect Smith to attack Peppers from the jump, because you can't allow him to get going. If Peppers is feeling it that day, he can be a handful to deal with. If you wait on him to rush, he is going to take advantage of you.
For such a long player, he can make himself small really quick and not give you much to hit. Smith has the feet to counter his movement and that is really important when you are facing him. Look for Tyron Smith to take the fight to Julius Peppers and see if he will respond.