Pick Dallas -3 as Cowboys Face Bears Thursday Night

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 3:33 PM GMT

Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014 3:33 PM GMT

It's the second straight Thursday game for this two teams, and it's nothing short of a must-win one for Dallas as it looks close to Philly in the NFC East. The Cowboys are 3.5-point favorites in Chicago on 5Dimes NFL odds.

Bears Can Start Planning for 2015
If you are going to play on a Thursday night, I suppose it's better to have played the previous Thursday instead of Sunday as both Dallas and Chicago did on Turkey Day. The Bears' season ended for all intents and purposes in their 34-17 Thanksgiving loss in Detroit. Chicago (5-7) led 14-3 after one quarter but then did nothing. That porous Bears defense, which ranks dead last in the NFL, was torched by Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. Stafford threw for a season-high 390 yards as well as two touchdowns -- both to Johnson. Megatron caught 11 balls for 146 yards and pretty much had his way with the overmatched Chicago secondary.

Chicago had just 246 yards as calls for the job of supposed offensive-minded head coach Marc Trestman continued. The Bears were No. 2 in the NFL in scoring last year but haven't topped 28 points yet this season and have been held to 23 or fewer in six straight games, four of which are losses. Chicago didn't even try to run the ball against Detroit as it had only eight attempts for 13 yards (fewest in any Thanksgiving game ever by any team). Jay Cutler, embattled himself, threw for 280 yards and two scores but also two more interceptions, and he leads the NFL in turnovers. Cutler has at least one pick in eight seven games and Chicago has lost seven of them. He's simply not an elite quarterback even though paid like one. Could the Bears look to trade him this offseason?

The Bears played Detroit without injured seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Biggs, and he was put on season-ending injured reserve Friday. His Bears career is done. Briggs made 170 starts in a Chicago uniform. Only four players in team history have started more games — Walter Payton (184), Olin Kreutz (183), Brian Urlacher (180) and Mike Singletary (172). Pretty strong list.

Even were Chicago to win out and finish 9-7, which looks highly unlikely, that almost surely won't be enough for a playoff spot. The Bears are 5-7 against the spread in NFL betting odds and 7-5 'over/under.'


NFC East Still There for Taking
Dallas (8-4) was a 3-point home favorite on NFL odds against Philadelphia on Thanksgiving but was dominated in a 33-10 loss. The Eagles scored on their first possession and never looked back. It was the fewest points the Cowboys have scored at home since Week 16 of 2011. It was also the third straight game an opponent scored a touchdown on its opening possession against Dallas. Only the putrid Raiders have allowed more points on the first possession of a game than the 41 allowed by the Cowboys. No team has allowed more than the five first possession touchdowns the Cowboys have.

The Dallas defense looked gassed all day, giving up 464 total yards to Philly. The Eagles rushed for 256. Dallas QB Tony Romo also appeared uncomfortable with a back problem, completing 18 of 29 for 199 yards, no touchdowns and two picks. That snapped a streak of 38 straight games with at least one TD pass. DeMarco Murray, the NFL's leading rusher, also couldn't get it going with 73 yards on 20 carries. It was just his second game under 100 yards this season. Tight end Jason Witten had one catch for 8 yards. There wasn't a single positive for Dallas to take from that loss.

The Cowboys are now +250 to win the NFC East on Bovada's NFL odds with Philadelphia at -400. Dallas could find itself right back in a tie by the end of Sunday, however, with a win. The Eagles face a very tough home game against a Seattle team playing its best football of the season. Then the Cowboys visit the Eagles in Week 15. After that Dallas finishes vs. Indy and at Washington. Philly closes at Washington and at the NY Giants.

Dallas is 6-6 against the spread at sportsbooks and 6-5-1 'over/under.'

Last Season
The Dallas defense was one of the worst in NFL history last year and that was never more evident than a Week 14 loss in Chicago. With Josh McCown at quarterback for an injured Cutler, the Bears scored on their first eight possessions on the way to a 45-28 rout. McCown threw for 348 yards and four scores (running for another TD) in bitingly cold conditions. Romo was 11-for-20 for 104 yards and three touchdowns, while Murray rushed for 146 yards on 18 carries.

NFL Free Picks: Cowboys -3.5 (take an alternate number of -3 at sportsbooks that offer it) and 'under' 51 points. Dallas is unbeaten on the road this season and has covered four of those five, thats why we our backing Dallas as our NFL pick for this Thursday matchup. Chicago is just 2-3 at home (also ATS).

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