Cowboys, Bears Meet On Thursday Night In A Matchup Of Teams That Have Done Little But Disappoint

They’re both 6-6. And so much more was expected. The Dallas Cowboys travel to Chicago to play the Bears in the NFL’s Thursday night game but, in another sense,...

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They’re both 6-6. And so much more was expected.

The Dallas Cowboys travel to Chicago to play the Bears in the NFL’s Thursday night game but, in another sense, they are two teams heading in opposite directions.

The Bears, slow out of the gate, have won their last two games. The Cowboys have lost their last two. The Bears need to decide if Mitchell Trubisky is their quarterback of the future while the Cowboys ponder the fate of coach Jason Garrett.
There are also two ways of looking at 6-6.

The Bears, in third place in the NFC Central behind the Green Bay Packers (9-3) and Minnesota Vikings (8-4), are unlikely to win the division, as they did last year. It’s going to be a stretch (even with a strong stretch run) to make the playoffs, as three teams in the NFC West have better records.

The Cowboys? At 6-6, they lead the malnourished NFC East by one game over the Philadelphia Eagles (5-7), another slumping flop. The Cowboys and the Eagles play in the next-to-last NFL weekend, and that could determine which wins the NFC East.
Either way, that team will get a home game in the playoffs as the division champ. The wild card, which figures to have a better record, will have to travel. Note to the NFL – this system has got to go. We haven’t forgotten the 2010 Seattle Seahawks winning their division with a 7-9 record and getting a home game over the 11-5 New Orleans Saints, who had won the Super Bowl the season before.

The entire NFC West was a mess that season – all four teams had losing records. The Seahawks, who enjoy a tremendous advantage at home because of the crowd noise at CenturyLink Field, beat the Saints 41-36. They were the first team to earn a playoff berth with a sub-.500 record in a full season to get to the playoffs.

This could happen in the NFC East as well. The Cowboys have forgotten how to run the ball and owner Jerry Jones is openly questioning Garrett.

The Bears? Their questionable personnel moves and Trubisky’s play have hurt. Even if their season fails to yield a playoff berth, they can bounce back.

The real story in this game is the Cowboys. They’ve got all the parts. They just can’t make them mesh.

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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