Dallas (8-3) at Chicago (5-6), 8:30 p.m. on NFL Network. For the second week in a row, Dallas and Chicago will play on Thursday and this time they will face each other. Both teams come into the week 14 opener with losses from last Thursday under their belts.

Dallas allowed 14 first quarter points unchallenged in their 33-10 loss to the Eagles last Thursday in Arlington. The Cowboys defense allowed Philly RB LeSean McCoy to run for 159 yards and a TD (the Eagles ran for 256), while they were held to 93 in the NFC East contest. Also in that contest, Tony Romo’s streak of one TD pass in a game came to an end at 38 games, throwing two interceptions and was sacked four times. Philadelphia managed to score in four of their five first half possessions, taking a 23-7 lead with them to the half and Dallas could never recover after that. Dallas on third down conversions went 4-12 (0-1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:35, while the Eagles were 8-15 and kept the ball for 30:25.

“I think it’s just about this week, this Thursday against the Chicago Bears,” Romo told the Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV on heading into the season’s final four games. “More than anything, it’s a time to start playing your best football and our football team needs to understand the sense of urgency is now. I think our guys understand what’s ahead of them if they can go on and play their best football.”

The Cowboys travel to Chicago with a 5-0 record on the road this season, the best road record in the NFL. In wins away from home, Romo has passed 1,164 yards with 12 touchdowns for a league-best 122.0 passer rating.

Chicago also lost on Thanksgiving Day, falling to the Lions in the Motor City by a 34-17 final. Da Bears let a 14-3 first quarter lead slip out of their paws as Detroit would go on to outscore Chicago 31-3 in the final 45 minutes of play at Ford Field. Da Bears were held to a dismal 13 yards rushing, while Detroit ran for 91 and Lions QB Matthew Stafford threw for 390 yards and a pair of TD passes to Megatron (aka Calvin Johnson) in the contest (Johnson wound up with 11 catches for 146 yards). Bears QB Jay Cutler struggled in the contest with their NFC North rivals, throwing a pair of interceptions and had a pair of TD passes to WR Alshon Jeffery, while being sacked twice. TE Martellus Bennett led all Bears recievers with 109 yards, while catching eight passes in the loss. Both the Lions and Da Bears went 5-12 on third down tries (Detroit was 1-2 on fourth down tries) and Chicago kept the ball for 26:35, while the Lions held it for 33:25.

Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery had nine receptions for 71 yards and two touchdowns against the Lions. Jeffery has seven touchdown catches this season, including four in the previous three games.

“We’ve got a big game in primetime this Thursday night,” Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall told WGN-TV. Marshall has 22 catches for 432 yards and three touchdowns in four career games against Dallas. “We’ve definitely got to put our best game forward against the Cowboys.”

Da Bears are still alive in the NFC playoff race and close the regular season with three of their final four games at home. Running back Matt Forte is third in the NFL with 1,478 scrimmage yards and is the only player in the league with at least 800 rushing yards (828) and 650 receiving yards (650).

“We’re going to come out and play ball,” says Bears defensive end Willie Young. “We’re going to stick to our game plan against Dallas. It should be a good game.”

Quarterback Jay Cutler aims for his third win as a starter against Dallas this week. In two career matchups, Cutler has passed for 552 yards with five touchdowns with a 138.2 passer rating.

In his career as a starter on Thursday, Romo has led Dallas to a 7-2 record with a 103.1 passer rating. Week 14 will mark Romo’s first career road start on Thursday.

Thursday’s contest features two of the league’s top running backs, as Dallas’ De Marco Murray and and Chicago’s Forte enter ranking first and second in the NFC, respectively, in scrimmage yards this season.

Murray has gained at least 100 rushing yards in 10 of 12 games heading into Thursday, and leads the league with 1,427 rushing yards this season. In three career Thursday games, Murray has 343 scrimmage yards (114.3 per game) and four rushing touchdowns.

Forte (828 rushing, 650 receiving) is the only player with at least 800 rushing yards and 650 receiving yards in 2014. In five games at home, Forte has 736 scrimmage yards (147.2 per game) and has scored four touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving).

DeMarco Murray and Matt Forte’s scrimmage totals this season:
DeMarco Murray, Dallas (1,427/343/1,770, 8)
Matt Forte, Chicago (828/650/1,478, 8)

The series is even at 11-11 and Dallas has outscored Chicago 435-428.


Da Bears have won the last three meetings with Dallas, taking a 45-28 win last year in the Windy City (Dallas’ last win against the Monsters of the Midway came in 2007, also in the Windy City by a final of 34-10). They met in week 14 at Soldier Field and Chicago took a 24-14 halftime lead and never looked back after K Robbie Gould broke a 14-14 tie with a 27-yard field goal. Chicago’s Matt Forte and Dallas’ DeMarco Murray were the rushing stars in the contest, with Forte rushing for 102 yards, while Murray led all rushers with 146 (Dallas outrushed Chicago 198-149). Josh McCown, taking over for Cutler, threw for 348 yards and four TDs in the contest with no interceptions, while Romo threw three TDs in the contest that was played in 8-degree weather (wind chill of -9). Da Bears were 8-11 on third down conversions in the chilly Windy City, keeping the ball for 36:44, while Dallas was 5-10 and 1-2 on third and fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 23:16.

Chicago covered the 1 point spread (Dallas was the favorite in the Monday night contest) with their 17 point win in the Windy City and the 73 combined points eclipsed the 49 over/under. The Cowboys are favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under stands at 52. Both teams are fighting for their playoff lives on Thursday night and both look to catch Philadelphia and Green Bay in their resepective divisons. Dallas makes it a close contest in the Windy City but the Monsters of the Midway prevail at Soldier Field and cover the 3 1/2.

Broadcast Information
8:25 p.m. Eastern on NFL Network: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson (Field reporter). Westwood One: Ian Eagle, Mike Mayock, Hub Arkush (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood 1), 93 (Dallas), 92 (Chicago). XM: 88 (WestWood 1), 225 (Dallas), 226 (Chicago).

Injury Report

OUT: S Jeff Heath (thumb), CB Tyler Patmon (knee, ankle), LB Dekoda Watson (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Demarcus Lawrence (chest)
PROBABLE: DE Tyrone Crawford (knee), T Doug Free (foot), DT Nick Hayden (shoulder), LB Rolando McClain (knee), DT Josh Price-Brent (groin), QB Tony Romo (back), DE George Selvie (thumb), T Tyron Smith (illness), WR Terrance Williams (finger)

OUT: LB Darryl Sharpton (hamstring), WR Chris Williams (hamstring)
DOUBTFUL: K Robbie Gould (right quadricep), DE Cornelius Washington (chest)
QUESTIONABLE: S Chris Conte (eye), WR Alshon Jeffery (hamstring), DT Jay Ratliff (knee)
PROBABLE: TE Martellus Bennett (foot), CB Tim Jennings (groin), G Kyle Long (calf), DE Trevor Scott (knee)

Weather: Mostly cloudy and 35 degrees.

Broadcast information and injury report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best and USA Today, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel.