OK. We've reviewed the Sunday performances for three-fourths of the NFC North. Now it's time to turn our attention to the Monday night matchup between the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. ET, but the game will be hard-pressed to reach the drama level of last Monday's affair.
We've discussed a few aspects of this game, from the apparent mismatch the Bears' defensive line should have over the Cowboys offensive line, to quarterback Jay Cutler's dismal record in prime-time games on the road, to the Bears' aggressive but unsuccessful attempts to get the ball down the field through three games.
In the last few hours before kickoff, I'd like to focus on the Cowboys' top-ranked defense, and how a potential antidote has to this point not been a part of the Bears offense.
The Cowboys are limiting opponents to an NFL-low 250 yards and 15.7 first downs per game and boast one of the league's top pass-rushers in DeMarcus Ware. An easy and high-percentage offensive alternative to the Bears' downfield throws could include an emphasis on receiver Devin Hester near the line of scrimmage, but to this point Hester has been almost invisible in the Bears' new offense.
Hester has been targeted on five passes, catching two for 27 yards, and has played on 30 percent of the Bears' snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. Late last week, he expressed frustration to ESPNChicago.com, saying: "It's hard being one of the top electrifying players in the league and you're not able to get your hands on the ball as much as you want."
Based on what we discussed over the weekend, I'm not sure Cutler wants to redirect his efforts away from receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. But you wonder if Hester won't emerge as a bigger factor Monday night -- or whether he should. Just a thought.