The weather will be good. The opponent is bad.
Bottom line: If the Cowboys can’t beat the Bears tonight they won’t be a playoff team. And they won’t deserve to be a playoff team.
That 6-1 start will be a mirage, the December doldrums will again be howling and Jason Garrett’s seat will be scalding if Dallas doesn’t beat Chicago. It all starts with offensive line.
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The Cowboys under Garrett are 8-11 in December and January. It’s probably over-simplifying the issue, but most of the failure is because they couldn’t run the football. The lack of consistency put the woeful defense on the field too much, and the lack of production put too much pressure on Tony Romo.
This winter should be different. Right?
DeMarco Murray leads the NFL in rushing and is on pace to smash Emmitt Smith’s franchise rushing record. Three first-round offensive linemen – Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin – are leading the Pro Bowl voting at their positions. The conditions won’t be near as dismal as last December’s visit when the wind chill was below-zero (around 35 at kickoff), but that slop of a Soldier Field is always more suited to running than passing.
Add a horrendous Bears’ defense that allows 28 points per game, and the recipe for tonight is as easy as run, run and run some more.
Murray should have close to 150 yards rushing, Romo shouldn’t attempt anything close to a risky pass and the Cowboys should walk away with a key victory and a 9-4 record that will keep them in the Wild Card conversation.
If they can’t run tonight, they can’t win. And if they can’t win, the critics who have for years lampooned Garrett as the coach and Romo in December will ultimately and definitively be proven right.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.