Tonight's game is a big one for both the Cowboys and the Bears; both are trying to establish themselves in very competitive divisions. So far this year, both teams have given themselves a Jekyll and Hyde reputation around the NFL.
Much like the Bears QB, the Cowboys QB has a reputation of up and down performances too.
The Cowboys showed up big on the opening night of the season by upsetting the Super Bowl champion Giants on the road.
They followed that up by going out West to CenturyLink Field, and were very disappointing in a loss against the Seahawks. Last week they barely squeaked past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home.
For the Bears, their season started brilliantly against the rebuilding Colts, followed by a big fat gut-punch on Thursday night against the Packers and then a mixed performance against a frisky-but-still-bad Rams squad.
Both teams have had their problems, sure. The Bears however, can right the ship tonight by better playing, in my opinion.
The Bears need to focus on shorter, underneath throws early to get Cutler feeling comfortable and get him in rhythm with the receivers. I am not sold on whether Forte will play or not but they also need to to run the ball early and often to avoid getting DeMarcus Ware ready to tee off on the Bears QB.
The run is going to be important to tonight's game, as the Cowboys run defense is ranked 18th, so holes should be there. The big thing for the Bears will be yards on first down, since they are last in the league with 3.32 yards per first down gained. That puts Cutler in a hole and he hasn't shown this year that he is able to get himself out of that.
If the Bears can gain four yards or more on first down it will help out Cutler and the rest of the offense. Also, mixing in draw plays will help take pressure off the o-line and stop the Cowboys defense from teeing off on Jay.
The biggest problem I see for the run game is that lead blocker Evan Rodriguez will miss the game with a knee injury. Kellen Davis and Kyle Adams leave much to be desired in the blocking department, so how Tice tries to work around that will be interesting to see. Anyone else wish they'd have found a way to keep Tyler Clutts now?
Elsewhere for the Bears, I want to see the moving pockets. Where has this been? I thought that was a big thing Jeremy Bates was going to bring to the table. Cutler does well on the run and one of the offensive lines biggest strengths, other than run-blocking, is that they are athletic and good at pulling. Roll Cutler out, get the defense on their heels and with the run established, they could even try some play action bootlegs.
The balance is there, though, and that trend needs to continue. Tice has kept the run-pass ratio nearly equal and that is key for the Bears.
If the Tice can improve his play-calling a little bit and the Bears can get another half yard-to-a-yard on first down, it will help this offense tremendously get itself going.