IRVING, Texas -- A look at what I think we'll be the two mosty crucial matchups in Thursday night's game against the Bears:
Cowboys CB Brandon Carr against Bears WR Alshon Jeffery
It is rare that Rod Marinelli matches his corners with certain receivers in game plans, but this week against the Bears I could see a situation where he will want to put Orlando Scandrick on Brandon Marshall because of his physical traits.
Marinelli will feel like Jeffery has the size but not the quickness or speed of Marshall. Marshall tends to play more inside anyway, and that is right up Scandrick's alley. As important as Matt Forte is to this Bears offense, I believe it is Alshon Jeffery that they rely on the most when it comes to making a clutch play. He presents himself as a friendly target -- not only because of his size, but also his ability to finish the play.
You can watch Jay Cutler take the snap and follow his route the whole entire time. What helps Carr in this matchup is that Jeffery is not going to run away from him, and this will allow him to stay in position throughout the route. Then it comes down to him having to make a play on the ball. What Carr has to be ready for is how much Jeffery likes to push and shove at the top of the route to gain separation --because it's going to happen.
There is no question it has been a difficult season for Brandon Carr but this defense needs him to be on the screws, because they cannot afford to allow this matchup to be one sided.
Cowboys OT Tyron Smith against Bears DE Jared Allen
Early in the week Tyron Smith, went through a bout with a stomach virus that knocked him down for a day or two, but he is back at his job focusing on the matchup with Jared Allen.
Smith faced Allen last season in a Week 9 matchup while he was with the Vikings, holding him to one tackle with no sacks or pressures. Allen was a non-factor, and Smith will need to be just as dominant for this Cowboys offense to have success moving the ball. Allen still presents those same problems off the edge that he has for the majority of his career. He has always been a crafty player in his ability to set a blocker up with a wide variety of moves.
He still has speed to the edge with the ability to dip his shoulder and take the corner. He can also burst quickly to the edge, getting the tackle's weight on his left foot then cut back hard to the inside and taking the short path to the quarterback. Where Smith has an advantage over Allen is with his power -- especially in the running game.
When Smith comes off the ball and gets his hands inside on Allen, there is little that he can do to match him and that works out well for the Cowboys. The more than Smith can hammer on Allen, the more it will help neutralize him in his pass rush.