1. Chris Williams v. DeMarcus Ware. All Ware has done is record 11+ sacks in the past 4 years including 20 in '08. All Chris Williams has done is look like shit all preseason and in the first game when going against good pass rushers. No team can block Ware 1 on 1 and hope their QB lives through the game. The bears will double team, cut block and chip with backs and TEs all day but occasionally Ware will be 1 on 1 with Williams. Can Williams do enough to not get Cutler killed?
2. Tommie Harris & Anthony Adams v. the guards of the Cowboys. There is no question that Peppers will provide pressure from the outside he. He is that good that you can count on it every game. But will the huge man that is Leonard Davis, listed at 370, and the rest of the Cowboys huge interior line consume the bears' DTs? If the bears cant get penetration up the middle then the cowboys will run all over the place and with their dynamic passing attack be pretty much unstoppable for the bears D.
3. Devin Hester v. Terrence Newman. This isn't because hester has gotten so much attention this week for only catching 1 catch last week. Its because it seems that other teams deem Hester the bears #1 WR and put their best corner on him. The cowboys bring a lot of pressure and a lot of blitzing with their front 7 so Newman is constantly left 1 on 1 with the other teams top WR. If Hester can beat Newman a couple of times in the game, it will make the cowboys dial down the blitzes and give Cutler more time.
Keys for the Bears:
1. Get off the bus running. The bears ran the ball 31 times last week but only for a 3.3 yd avg. That needs to improve and they need to be able to pick up chucks of yardage on the ground against the 'boys. It will prevent hits on cutler and it will slow down the pass rush. The line must figure out how to run block against a 3-4 defense.
2. Contain Jason Witten. There was no question that last year the bears were vulnerable down the middle and to good TEs. Witten is about as good as they come at TE and he is questioned Romo's favorite target. Urlacher, Briggs and the safeties must locate Witten and not allow him to pick up big chunks of yardage down the middle of the field. Nothing is more disheartening to a defense.
3. Special teams be "special". For years the bears have had one of the best special teams units in the NFL but in week 1, they looked average. I think for the bears to win this game the special teams must come up with a big, momentum changing play, be it a long return or kick block or forced fumble. This is one area where the bears probably have more talent than the cowboys and it needs to show up.
Hero of the day: Johnny Knox. As i said above the cowboys bring a lot of guys on the blitz and leave their corners 1 on 1 with WRs. Knox and Cutler should have a few shots at deep balls in man coverage and Knox can out run any of the 'boys secondary. Look for a big shot over the defense's head and for Knox dancing in the endzone if Cutler can recognize the coverage/blitz and have time to put it up.
Final Score: I think this will be a very close game. A lot closer than the nine points that the cowboys are favored by. In the end, i think it will come down to a score in the 4th quarter to pull ahead and i have no idea which team that will be. I'll take the cowboys just because i think they have too much talent on the offensive side of the ball even though they didnt show it last week.
Cowboys 24, Bears 21